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In late October 2015, Southern California Gas Co. — SoCalGas — admitted that its 8,500-foot-deep underground storage well capable of holding 86 billion cubic feet of natural gas was leaking methane in the hills above Porter Ranch, California. The well is located in Aliso Canyon.
The months-long leak is discharging noxious odors, gases, chemicals, and numerous other pollutants and contaminants into the air breathed by children, adults and pets in Porter Ranch and neighboring communities.
Natural gas consists mainly of methane. The amount of methane to which Porter Ranch residents were exposed in just the first two months of the gas leak was equal to the amount produced by 160,000 cars in an entire year.
Additionally, the natural gas to which residents are being exposed had been treated with mercaptans. These are chemical agents that give natural gas a nauseating smell, similar to rotten eggs.
Porter Ranch and the surrounding communities of Granada Hills, Chatsworth, Northridge and others are in the northwestern corner of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. Porter Ranch alone has a population of between 17,000 (City-Data.com) and 36,000 (Sperling’s Best Places). Families make up the majority of households there and in the other impacted communities.
Many residents were forced to abandon their homes to escape the relentless sickening odor of the leaking gas and the harms done to their health.
Health Complications from Porter Ranch Gas Leak
Children and adults in the vicinity of the gas leak are suffering serious health consequences as a result of the leak. These include:
- Eye, nose and throat irritation
- Coughing and nasal congestion
- Shortness of breath
- Nose bleeds
- Flu-like symptoms
- Skin irritation
- Extraordinary stress
These health consequences are causing many children to be absent from school frequently. Many adults too are frequently absent from work, either due to their own gas-related illnesses or to their need to take care of children unable to go to school, or other disruptions related to the gas leak.
SoCalGas Leak Lawsuit
In December 2015, Weitz & Luxenberg initiated a lawsuit against the owner and operator of the leaking Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility, SoCalGas and Sempra Energy.
Weitz & Luxenberg filed the lawsuit on behalf of residents impacted by the gas leak. Since that time, the firm has filed three additional suits on behalf of additional injured residents. We are suing SoCalGas and Sempra Energy since the two companies were grossly negligent in constructing and maintaining the storage well and in their efforts to stop the leak.
The lawsuit further alleges a purposeful effort by SoCalGas and Sempra Energy to keep harmed residents in the dark about the leak and its effects.
Weitz & Luxenberg asked the court to let affected residents withhold payment of gas bills until the gas stopped leaking.
Weitz & Luxenberg also asked the court to set up a compensation fund to pay for injured plaintiffs’ expenses resulting from the gas leak — including the cost of relocating — while the leak is ongoing and after.
How Weitz & Luxenberg Can Help
As a nationally recognized personal injury law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg is committed to helping clients win cases. For more than 25 years, we have dedicated ourselves to holding irresponsible practitioners accountable, and we have won $17 billion for our clients.
We would feel privileged to assist you. For a free consultation and more information about your legal options, please call us at 800-476-6070. If you prefer, you can complete our form, and our client relations representative will contact you shortly.