MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - A multi-million dollar legal settlement was handed down in Marquette County Circuit Court, against U.P. Propane. It involves a building explosion in K.I. Sawyer in May 2016.
The propane blast was at Freshwater Farms. The fully licensed medical marijuana caregiver business was destroyed. The owner, Derek Parker, suffered second- and third-degree burns over 45 percent of his body in the explosion. According to Parker's attorney, Phillip Toutant, the medical bills for Parker’s care have been about $500,000. He spent more than a month in the University of Michigan Hospital. Toutant says Parker is permanently disfigured.
The civil lawsuit was heard by a jury, this past September. In court, it was revealed the 100-pound, 78 year old propane cylinder was corroded on the bottom. That corrosion caused a breach in the bottom of the tank, allowing propane gas to leak out and into the building. It was also revealed in court, the cylinder in question had not been re-qualified according to standards. The tank that exploded was not being used at the time of the blast.
The jury awarded $2.5 million in their verdict. The victim, Derek Parker, will receive $2 million. That’s because in the final settlement, it was found Parker was 20 percent responsible for the explosion.
Toutant says both parties have settled the case based on the jury’s verdict. He says there will be no appeal.