Up To the Challenge

Leading the Litigation for the 2016 Silver Spring Apartment Explosion

Fights for justice

Justin Smulison

September 12, 2019 05:00 PM

When corporate negligence causes a tragedy in the greater Washington, D.C., area, the victims often turn to the lawyers at Regan Zambri Long PLLC for their record of success and compassion for their clients.

Three years ago, in August 2016, Catholic Charities was helping scores of Maryland residents who had been rendered homeless by a gas explosion at their Silver Spring apartment complex. The explosion and ensuing fire killed seven and injured many more. Wanting to ensure that the victims received the best legal representation, the nonprofit organization reached out to firm President and Senior Partner Patrick M. Regan. Regan, who had previously offered years of volunteer work for Catholic Charities, felt compelled to accept the case after meeting with the survivors.

“These are some of the most humble, hardworking people I’ve ever had the honor of representing,” Regan said. “They are construction laborers, cooks, and minimum-wage workers—many of whom work two jobs—and they have suffered a tremendous trauma. They are parents, too, and have lost children in this tragedy, which was entirely preventable. Their trust in us is sacred, and we will be their voice in court.”

Regan leads a team comprised of Senior Partner Victor Long and firm attorneys Christopher J. Regan and Emily Lagan, as well as other law firms, in the pending litigation against the landlord, property owner, and gas company. The trial is scheduled for December 2019 in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

The case is reminiscent of others that helped the lawyers at Regan Zambri Long establish themselves as a go-to choice for people injured as a result of the carelessness of others. Over the course of its 23-year history, the firm has secured more than $500 million in verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients. Regan Zambri Long has also set legal precedent in matters concerning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The result of one recent wrongful death case had far-reaching implications across Maryland, after the firm had successfully fought to change state law to require the installation of battery backup systems in smoke detectors. This intimate knowledge of the law helps establish the firm as a statewide leader in its practice areas.

“This was a senseless tragedy that could have been prevented had either the gas company or the apartment management company followed the common-sense rules and regulations that keep all of us safe,” said Regan, who was named "Lawyer of the Year" for Medical Malpractice Law—Plantiffs by Washington D.C. Best Lawyers, first in 2014, then again this year. Best Lawyers also named Senior Partner, Vice President and Founding Member Salvatore J. Zambri as this year’s "Lawyer of the Year" for Product Liability Litigation—Plaintiffs.

Regan also noted the National Transportation Safety Board’s April 2019 conclusion that the probable cause of the explosion was “an unconnected vent line that allowed natural gas into the meter room where it […] ignited.”

“The tenants had been making gas odor complaints to management for months leading up to the explosion, but management didn’t act,” he added. “They gambled with the lives of the people who paid them rent. We will hold them accountable for those choices.”

Related Articles

Combating Nuclear Verdicts: Empirically Supported Strategies to Deflate the Effects of Anchoring Bias

by Sloan L. Abernathy

Sometimes a verdict can be the difference between amicability and nuclear level developments. But what is anchoring bias and how can strategy combat this?

Lawyer speaking in courtroom with crowd and judge in the foreground

Is Premises Liability the Same as Negligence?

by Jeremy Wilson and Taylor Rodney Marks

In today's age, we are always on the move, often inhabiting spaces we don't own. But what happens when someone else's property injures you or someone you know?

A pair of silhouetted legs falling down a hole with yellow background


Easton & Easton: Let Our Family Help Yours

by Justin Smulison

For more than 50 years, Easton & Easton have continued to be the go-to trial law firm for injury and wrongful death claims in Southern California in 2023.

Group of lawyers pose at table with globe in forefront

Understanding Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases

by Best Lawyers

In personal injury cases, the statute of limitations can vary depending on several factors. To navigate the process, consider hiring a legal professional.

Animated woman holding a clock and coin while balancing on plank

Unwavering Dedication to Clients

by Best Lawyers

Trial attorneys Michael Lyons and Chris Simmons find motivation when the result means everything.

Trial Attorneys at Lyons & Simmons

Truck Safety Watchdogs

by Best Lawyers

Unqualified, Poorly Trained Truck Drivers and Unsafe Trucks Heighten Roadway Dangers

Truck Safety and Roadway Dangers

Cost to Boss

by Gregory Sirico

New Colorado legislation aims to stop employers from dodging direct negligence claims.

Employers Dodge Direct Negligence Claims

A Sea Change on Land

by Linda A. Klein and Suneel Gupta

Autonomous vehicles will revolutionize almost every area of the law. Here’s a look at what’s rapidly approaching.

Legal Considerations for Autonomous Vehicles

Uber Negligence

by Daniel Katz

Who is responsible for gig economy car accidents?

Litigating ride-hailing services

The Best Defense Against FLSA Lawsuits for Unpaid Overtime

by Maureen E. Carr

Six strategies to avoid costly liability.

Gun shots on target practice

The Fighter From New York

by Justin Smulison

Benedict Morelli discusses recent successes and high-profile casework.

Benedict Morelli of Morelli Law Firm

Masters in the Courtroom

by Best Lawyers

A look into The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson and the notable work of its lawyers against negligence.

Law Offices of Frank L. Branson

Jay Cohen

by Best Lawyers

Personal Injury Litigation - Plaintiffs

Jay Cohen

Trending Articles

Presenting The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2025

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is proud to present The Best Lawyers in Australia for 2025, marking the 17th consecutive year of Best Lawyers awards in Australia.

Australia flag over outline of country

How To Find A Pro Bono Lawyer

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers dives into the vital role pro bono lawyers play in ensuring access to justice for all and the transformative impact they have on communities.

Hands joined around a table with phone, paper, pen and glasses

How Palworld Is Testing the Limits of Nintendo’s Legal Power

by Gregory Sirico

Many are calling the new game Palworld “Pokémon GO with guns,” noting the games striking similarities. Experts speculate how Nintendo could take legal action.

Animated figures with guns stand on top of creatures

Announcing The Best Lawyers in New Zealand™ 2025 Awards

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is announcing the 16th edition of The Best Lawyers in New Zealand for 2025, including individual Best Lawyers and "Lawyer of the Year" awards.

New Zealand flag over image of country outline

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Japan™ 2025

by Best Lawyers

For a milestone 15th edition, Best Lawyers is proud to announce The Best Lawyers in Japan.

Japan flag over outline of country

The Best Lawyers in Singapore™ 2025 Edition

by Best Lawyers

For 2025, Best Lawyers presents the most esteemed awards for lawyers and law firms in Singapore.

Singapore flag over outline of country

Announcing the 16th Edition of the Best Lawyers in Germany Rankings

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers announces the 16th edition of The Best Lawyers in Germany™, featuring a unique set of rankings that highlights Germany's top legal talent.

German flag in front of country's outline

How Much Is a Lawyer Consultation Fee?

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers breaks down the key differences between consultation and retainer fees when hiring an attorney, a crucial first step in the legal process.

Client consulting with lawyer wearing a suit

Presenting the 2024 Best Lawyers Employment and Workers’ Compensation Legal Guide

by Best Lawyers

The 2024 Best Lawyers Employment and Workers' Compensation Legal Guide provides exclusive access to all Best Lawyers awards in related practice areas. Read below and explore the legal guide.

Illustration of several men and women in shades of orange and teal

Things to Do Before a Car Accident Happens to You

by Ellie Shaffer

In a car accident, certain things are beyond the point of no return, while some are well within an individual's control. Here's how to stay legally prepared.

Car dashcam recording street ahead

Combating Nuclear Verdicts: Empirically Supported Strategies to Deflate the Effects of Anchoring Bias

by Sloan L. Abernathy

Sometimes a verdict can be the difference between amicability and nuclear level developments. But what is anchoring bias and how can strategy combat this?

Lawyer speaking in courtroom with crowd and judge in the foreground

Attacked From All Sides: What Is Happening in the World of Restrictive Covenants?

by Christine Bestor Townsend

One employment lawyer explains how companies can navigate challenges of federal and state governmental scrutiny on restrictive covenant agreements.

Illustration of two men pulling on string with blue door between them

The Push and Pitfalls of New York’s Attempt to Expand Wrongful Death Recovery

by Elizabeth M. Midgley and V. Christopher Potenza

The New York State Legislature recently went about updating certain wrongful death provisions and how they can be carried out in the future. Here's the latest.

Red tape blocking off a section of street

6 Ways a Lawyer Can Help You With Your Medical Malpractice Claim

by Adam Malone

If you believe you have a medical malpractice claim, contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Read on to learn how they can help with your claim.

Doctor in white lab coat showing x-ray to patient in blue scrubs

Georgia Proposes Law Requiring Parental Consent for Minors on Social Media

by Gregory Sirico

With data collection on the rise, Georgia lawmakers are currently petitioning for Senate Bill 351, which would require a user's age before social media use.

Teenager with hood on using phone as notifications pop up

Colorado Attorney General Calls For Cannabis Reclassification

by Gregory Sirico

In this article, Best Lawyers highlights a recent call to action by the Colorado state attorney general, requesting a full drug reclassification of cannabis.

Cannabis buds sitting on a checkerboard tabletop