American Legion Sues NorthWestern Over Bozeman Explosion

By Beacon Staff

BOZEMAN – American Legion Post 14 has filed a lawsuit against NorthWestern Energy over a March natural gas explosion that destroyed half a city block in downtown Bozeman and killed a woman.

The post and Tom Jones, a post member and manager of the building and bar, filed the lawsuit in District Court in Gallatin County on Thursday. Jones was in the bar at the time of the explosion and suffered back and ankle injuries, partial hearing loss as well as losing his job.

The lawsuit names NorthWestern and Leonard Leveaux, the company’s senior manager of gas system integrity for Bozeman. The lawsuit claims that NorthWestern and Leveaux were aware that the older-design threaded pipes were unsafe.

In August, NorthWestern issued a press release saying there was nothing evident from the condition of the service line or fitting that suggested they were defective.

A NorthWestern spokeswoman says the company has not seen the lawsuit and could not comment.

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