The three children of a Michigan couple killed in the Ellison Bay propane explosion in July 2006 will receive a settlement worth more than $21 million from a civil lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Green Bay.
The suit was filed by the family of Patrick and Margaret Higdon, both of whom were killed in the blast on July 10, 2006. Their three children and other family members were injured. The Bloomfield Hills, Mich., family was vacationing at the Cedar Grove Resort at the time.
“While terms and conditions of the total settlement are confidential, I can tell you the family is extremely relieved the litigation process is over,” said attorney Ralph Tease of Habush Habush & Rottier in Green Bay, which represented the family along with Stuart Sklar, an attorney in Farmington Hills, Mich.
The explosion, which also destroyed the Pioneer General Store, was traced to a propane gas line leak. Twelve other people also were injured. Other adults have reached a settlement but that hasn’t been made public.
The suit named the Cedar Grove Resort, some construction companies, a utility and their insurance companies as defendants.
Authorities never filed criminal charges in the matter. Door County District Attorney Ray Pelrine has said an electrical contractor installing some underground electric lines for an upgrade of the resort’s docks ruptured a buried propane line three days before the explosion, and it wasn’t clear what caused the propane to ignite.
The $21 million settlement reached May 6 will be split among the three children two 16-year-old twin boys and a 14-year-old girl and go into trust funds for them.
The lawsuit claimed Arby Construction, Inc., severed an underground propane gas line while performing work for the resort. The suit also named the Wisconsin Public Service Corp., Portside Properties LLC, and their insurance companies, and Ferrellgas, Inc.
Four of the five defendants in the lawsuit agreed to the settlement. The four will take the fifth defendant to court to try and make it share payment in the settlement, according to court documents.
Kerry Spees, a spokesman for Wisconsin Public Service Corp. in Green Bay, said that under terms of the agreement, WPS could not comment.
The children live with their maternal grandparents in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Tease said.
The suit was filed Sept. 22, 2006.