- June 30, 2021
- Attorney Matt Stoddard
- Product Liability
The city of Tucker, Georgia lost a beloved local figure on May 11th, 2021, when a meat cooker at the Main Moon Chinese restaurant exploded, killing the restaurant’s owner, Mei Ying Chen.
Community members reacted to her loss with disbelief, describing her as someone everyone knew, and stating that the restaurant has been a local favorite for over 20 years.
No one else was injured, there was no fire, and the building did not sustain severe structural damage, although neighboring businesses were evacuated for safety.
The Dekalb County Fire Department is investigating, but having determined that the explosion was most likely accidental, they expect that the final determination of cause will be made by the insurance company.
Appliance Manufacturers, Gas Providers, and Maintenance Companies Are All Responsible for Consumer Safety
Public reports vary on whether the appliance that killed Chen was a pressure cooker or an oven, but Dekalb County fire officials confirm that it did run on gas.
Assuming that the gas provided the fuel for the explosion, there are many possibilities for what may have gone wrong and prevented the appliance from working safely and properly. Most of them involve negligence by one supplier or another.
The manufacturer of the appliance is the most obvious potential culprit to look to. If the cooker’s design allowed dangerous amounts of gas to collect in a confined space, or if it had internal leaks or faulty safety features, the manufacturer could be liable for Chen’s death. Construction or maintenance companies, or even the gas company itself, could also be at fault if the restaurant’s gas lines and connections were not up to code.
If the appliance was indeed a pressure cooker, and the explosion was caused by a catastrophic failure of the pressure chamber rather than a gas ignition, that too could be the result of a faulty design or substandard materials.
The Explosion Also Damaged the Main Moon Business in More Ways Than the Loss of Its Leader
Compensation is always challenging to calculate in wrongful death cases, because of course there’s no satisfying way to put a dollar value on someone’s life. However, as a starting point, wrongful death payments typically cover final expenses, the income the deceased would have been expected to make, and some consideration for the next of kin’s emotional loss.
While emotional losses always have a level of subjectivity to them, financial losses can be fairly concrete, depending on the situation. As the owner and manager of a successful family business, the financial loss that Chen’s death represents for her family is obvious and significant, which will help their case if they do choose to file a suit.
Additionally, the explosion caused physical damage to the kitchen of the restaurant, which the family reportedly intends to keep, repair, and reopen. A customer has organized a fundraiser to help with this effort in the immediate future, but this kindness does not absolve any negligent parties of the responsibility to pay for the damage themselves.
To have the best chance of protecting their business for the future and getting to the bottom of what happened, it would be a good idea for the Chen family to have their own explosion accident attorney involved in the investigation, rather than leaving it up to the insurance.
If you are Mei Ying Chen’s next of kin, or if you have lost family to a similar appliance explosion, reach out to The Stoddard Firm to learn about how we can help with wrongful death and premises liability cases.