Newport restaurants sue National Grid for damages related to gas outage

FIVE NEWPORT RESTAURANTS have filed a lawsuit seeking damages from National Grid and Enbridge over the gas outage in Newport in January. / PBN FILE PHOTO/ELI SHERMAN
FIVE NEWPORT RESTAURANTS have filed a lawsuit seeking damages from National Grid and Enbridge over the gas outage in Newport in January. / PBN FILE PHOTO/ELI SHERMAN

NEWPORT – Five restaurants in Newport have filed a lawsuit against National Grid seeking restitution payments and punitive damages over the Newport gas outage, alleging that the incident was caused by company negligence and was related to the union lockout in Massachusetts.

The suit says that the plaintiffs, SSR Corp. (Sardella’s), Kale Stems LLC (Stoneacre Brasserie), Radish Patch LLC (Stoneacre Tapas), Five Tempus Ltd. (O’Briens Pub) and BKA Industries Inc. (Scales & Shells Restaurant), do not want to be “corralled into some ‘claims process’ that National Grid and its co-defendants “haven’t fully developed.”

The lawsuit alleges that the company’s lockout of USW Locals 12003 and 12012, roughly 1,200 workers, and the use of contract workers was related to the gas failure in Rhode Island. The suit’s second count, which alleges negligence, said that National Grid failed to comply with regulatory standards of care, failed to fulfill its contract to deliver gas to Newport, among other alleged failures, and that these alleged shortcomings led to a loss of revenue and damage to property.

The lawsuit continues on to argue that National Grid and related companies should have known about what the lawsuit alleges is a deteriorated state of the gas system.

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The plaintiffs sued for more than just damages to make their companies whole, suing for punitive damages in “such an amount sufficient to deter such future conduct.”

The companies named as defendants are National Grid PLC, National Grid USA, The Narragansett Electric Co., National Grid USA Service Co. and Enbridge Inc., which was the gas supplier from which the gas outage stemmed.

National Grid issued a statement Friday saying, “The company does not comment on pending litigation.”

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor. Email him at Bergenheim@PBN.com.

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