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

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

A Celebration of Excellence: The Best Lawyers in Canada 2024 Awards

by Best Lawyers

As we embark on the 18th edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada™, we are excited to highlight excellence and top legal talent across the country.

Abstract image of red and white Canada flag in triangles

The Long, Short, Thick and Thin of It

by Avrohom Gefen

“Appearance discrimination” based on employees’ height and weight is the latest hot-button issue in employment law. Here’s a guide to avoid discrimination.

Woman stands in front of mirror holding suit jacket

Trailblazing Titans of the Industry: Announcing the 4th Edition Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers honor and celebrate these talented, innovative newer lawyers who are trailblazing their way to victories in courtrooms across the country.

Connected web above map of the U.S.

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in America Honorees

by Best Lawyers

Only the top 5.3% of all practicing lawyers in the U.S. were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 29th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

Gold strings and dots connecting to form US map

Pearls of Wisdom: Celebrating 30 Editions of Best Lawyers’ Rankings

by Best Lawyers

In celebration of our landmark 30th edition, Best Lawyers’ leadership explains how the world’s original and most trusted legal awards maintain their esteem, integrity and reputation for excellence among the top legal entities and their clients.

Best Lawyers logo for 30th edition release with gold glitter in background

Vanguards of Victory: Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Canada 2024

by Best Lawyers

The third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Canada™ has been announced, and the lawyers showcased by these awards are rising to the challenge each day as advocates for clients all across the country.

Blue and black background with small squares connected by lines

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2023

by Best Lawyers

The third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ highlights the legal talent of lawyers who have been in practice less than 10 years.

Three arrows made of lines and dots on blue background

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in Canada Honorees

by Best Lawyers

The Best Lawyers in Canada™ is entering its 17th edition for 2023. We highlight the elite lawyers awarded this year.

Red map of Canada with white lines and dots

The Best Lawyers in South Africa™ 2023

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers proudly announces lawyers recognized in South Africa for 2023.

South African flag


Thomson Rogers: Toronto Personal Injury Lawyers

by Thomson Rogers

Since establishment in 1935, Toronto-based firm Thomson Rogers has consistently delivered results for their clients struggling through complex litigation.

Top of a Staircase Featuring Two Large Black Doors with Bookshelves and Chairs on Each Side

What the Courts Say About Recording in the Classroom

by Christina Henagen Peer and Peter Zawadski

Students and parents are increasingly asking to use audio devices to record what's being said in the classroom. But is it legal? A recent ruling offer gives the answer to a question confusing parents and administrators alike.

Is It Legal for Students to Record Teachers?


How Long Does a Felony Stay On Your Record in California

by Peter Blair

A felony can remain on your record for life in California. Some felonies qualify for expungement. Learn how to remove a felony conviction from your record in California.

Hand setting bird free out of a guarded fence

Incendiary Behavior

by Lyssa A. Roberts and Rahul Ravipudi

California’s future will see more frequent wildfires caused by faulty equipment. Litigation tied to recent Golden State infernos shows the way forward.

Mountain range with glow of wildfires behind it

The Upcycle Conundrum

by Karen Kreider Gaunt

Laudable or litigious? What you need to know about potential copyright and trademark infringement when repurposing products.

Repurposed Products and Copyright Infringemen

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers® in the United States

by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and in the 2nd Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2022.

2022 Best Lawyers Listings for United States

The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2024 Launch

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is excited to announce The Best Lawyers in Australia™ for 2023, including the top lawyers and law firms from Australia.

Australian Parliament beside water at sunset