Oral arg. – Miss.S.Ct. – July 27, 2015

At 1:30, Monday, July 27, 2015, the Court will hear the case of Reggie Eliott v. City of Holly Springs

Joe and Alma Elliott’s house in Holly Springs exploded on April 3, 2008, after natural gas leaked and filled up the house.  One person died and three were injured. The Elliotts filed suit  against Tri-State, El Paso Gas Corporation, Tennessee Gas Pipeline, Holly Springs and Chevron Phillips.  Tri-State supplied the odorant which was manufactured by Chevron Phillips.   El Paso Gas is the parent company of Tennessee Gas Pipeline  who was the distributor of the natural gas purchased by Holly Springs.  Amerigas is the propane supplier to the Elliott home.

The Elliotts blamed the explosion on  “odor fade.”  The gas leaked underground and ultimately migrated into the Elliotts’ basement. As it  traveled through the soil, the liquid odorant that was placed in the gas to give it a “rotten egg” smell (mercaptan) was stripped out the gas.

Defendants have alleged that the accident was caused by propane gas (supplied by Amerigas) that was purged from a heater by Joe Elliott.

The trial court awarded summary  judgment (and entered a final judgment) to El Paso/TGP and CP and denied summary judgment to  AmeriGas and Tri-State. The Elliotts appealed the final judgment against them.  Tri-State filed an interlocutory appeal which was granted. the cases have been consolidated.

The Elliott’s brief. 

Tri-State’s brief. 

Tennessee Gas brief.

Chevron’s brief.

Elliott’s reply brief.  

Watch the argument here.

Never seen this before – at the end of the argument, Justice Randolph revealed that a year ago he purchased stock in Kinder Morgan.  Kinder Morgan purchased El Paso gas a year ago.  He’s letting the parties decide whether they want him on the case or not. The Court recessed.  The lawyers agreed that they do not object.  Justice Randolph tells the lawyers that if they consult with their clients and they  feel otherwise, to let the court know.

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