Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions

Last Round of Gas Explosions Settlement Checks to Go Out in Merrimack Valley

Columbia Gas settled a class-action lawsuit for $143 million after the Merrimack Valley gas explosions in 2018, but many people in the area have remained without checks for years

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Thousands of Merrimack Valley residents have had to wait over a year for their compensation checks from the multimillion-dollar class-action lawsuit against Columbia Gas after the region's explosions in 2018.

But we've learned that roughly $1,000 checks will be issued to late claimants starting next week, on Thursday, Dec. 29.

John Roddy, one of the lead attorneys on the lawsuit against Columbia Gas, had told Telemundo Nueva Inglaterra and NBC10 Boston last year that the last round of checks would be distributed by the end of fall 2021. But resident claimants ended up waiting over a year due to pending business claims that, according to Roddy, took legal priority, negotiation and time.

Some 2,700 residents who filed a claim to receive their part of the settlement were left out because they missed the deadline on March 2020, largely due to the pandemic. Checks will arrive at the addresses on record with the class-action administrator.

Three years after the gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley, many are still waiting on their checks from a class action settlement with Columbia Gas.

The Massachusetts communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover were impacted by the explosions, which displaced about 8,000 people and killed 18-year-old Leonel Rondon.

Columbia Gas was forced to pay more than $56 million in fines and was barred from operating in Massachusetts after a lawsuit from Attorney General Maura Healey. The utility also settled the class-action lawsuit that's still being paid out for $143 million.

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