Insight

Achieving Justice For Essential Workers

Patrick Regan of Regan Zambri Long describes how the recent resolution of a corporate negligence case brought closure to survivors of a fatal 2016 apartment building explosion.

Patrick Regan Best Lawyers 2021
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Justin Smulison

September 17, 2020 08:00 AM

Flower Branch Apartments, a garden-style apartment complex in Silver Spring, was home to hundreds of hardworking men, women, and families. Late on Aug. 10, 2016, after most residents had gone to bed, the still night air was shattered by a gas explosion. The blast and ensuing fire killed seven, injured more than 100, and left the survivors homeless and without any of their worldly possessions.

Following the catastrophe, many residents turned to Catholic Charities for shelter and moral support. Wanting to ensure that the victims received the best legal representation, the organization reached out to Regan Zambri Long, whose firm president and senior partner, Patrick M. Regan, had previously donated years of volunteer work for Catholic Charities.

“Upon interviewing the victims, we instantly knew it would be a privilege to represent them,” says Regan. “These survivors had lost relatives and all their property in an avoidable tragedy. We were inspired to fight for them, to uncover the truth, and right the wrongs.”

Regan assembled a legal team comprised of Senior Partner Victor Long and firm attorneys Christopher J. Regan and Emily Lagan. The firm was joined by others in the litigation against the landlord, gas company, and other corporate defendants. They felt confident in their argument, supported by the National Transportation Safety Board’s April 2019 conclusion, that the explosion had been caused by “an unconnected vent line that allowed natural gas into the meter room where it […] ignited.”

We were inspired to fight for them, to uncover the truth, and right the wrongs.

The trial for an initial “bellwether case” was scheduled for December 2019 in Montgomery County Circuit Court. In the months leading up to the trial, Regan Zambri Long had all hands on deck building the case. On the eve of trial, however, a confidential settlement was reached with the defendants. Ultimately, Regan said he believes the outcome was favorable for his clients, who needed not only justice but also closure.

“This marked the end of a three-year nightmare for an incredibly resilient group of people who perform essential jobs in our community,” says Regan, who in 2020 was named Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” for Medical Malpractice Law - Plaintiffs in Washington D.C. for the second time. “Knowing that our efforts helped put this tragedy behind them is extremely gratifying. This result was a highlight in our firm’s history, and we were honored to achieve justice for these hardworking people.”

Headline Image: Laurie DeWitt

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