Energy company says defendants' negligence put steel steam pipe apparatus at risk for rupture

By Nicholas Malfitano | Sep 17, 2018


PHILADELPHIA – A local energy company is pursuing legal action after it says it learned that a conduit apparatus designed to supply steam beneath Philadelphia’s downtown streets was equipped with insufficient PVC electrical ducts, ducts which put a section of steel pipe at risk for rupture.

Veolia Energy Philadelphia, Inc. of Philadelphia filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on June 8 versus PECO Energy Company and HBK Engineering, LLC in Philadelphia, L.F. Driscoll Co., LLC in Bala Cynwyd, Henkels & McCoy, Inc. in Blue Bell and Liberty Property Trust in Malvern.

The suit says in January 2016, Veolia discovered at a site meeting that the defendants had designed and planned to construct/install numerous PVC electrical ducts through a reinforced concrete conduit to support, house and protect the carrier pipe, all of which supply steam at 175 pounds per square inch and at 400°F. The conduit is located at the intersection of 18th & Cuthbert Streets in Philadelphia.

Two months later, Veolia discovered that the defendants had done just that, installing the same PVC electrical ducts through the anchor and the reinforced concrete conduit for the steam line, completely compromising the anchors and caps, exposing the ACM insulation surrounding the steel carrier pipe, and coming within inches of rupturing the steel steam carrier pipe, which would have had “disastrous consequences.”

“As a result of the actions of defendants, either individually and/or jointly, the facilities required replacement and Veolia incurred construction, management, labor and material expenses to repair and/or replace the facilities. As a result of the damage caused by the actions and inactions of defendants, either individually and/or jointly, plaintiff was caused to incur damages in the amount of $389,926.31,” the suit states.

For counts of negligence, gross negligence, recklessness and/or willful and wanton misconduct, the plaintiff was seeking damages, individually, jointly and/or severally, in excess of the arbitrational and jurisdictional limits of the Court, plus punitive damages, interest, legal fees, costs and such other relief as the Court deems proper, in addition to a trial by jury.

The plaintiff is represented by Howard A. Rothenberg, Ryan P. Campbell and Ryan N. O’Connor of Howard Rothenberg & Associates in Scranton, plus Robert A. Stern of Clausen Miller, in New York.

The defendants are represented by Joseph M. Donley and Christopher M. Brubaker of Clark Hill, Paul K. Leary Jr. and Dylan M. Alper of Cozen O’Connor in Philadelphia, plus David F. White and Anne T. Marshall of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, in King of Prussia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 180302133

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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Organizations in this Story

Clausen Miller PC Cozen O'Connor Howard Rothenberg & Associates Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin PECO Energy Company Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Veolia Energy North America

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