Civil Penalties and Recovery of Millions sought
Los Angeles, Calif.- Los Angeles County recently filed a lawsuit against the tenants and property owners of the warehouse in Carson where a massive fire released illegally-stored chemicals into the Dominguez Channel and created hydrogen sulfide gas odors that caused a public nuisance affecting thousands of residents.
The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court, names 10 defendants, including Liberty Property Limited Partnership, which owns the warehouse, and its parent company, Prologis Inc.
The suit alleges that the tenants and the corporate owners of the warehouse facility were aware of the hazards and fire danger at the site and could have taken steps to prevent the dangerous conditions that led to the fire, but failed to do so. As a result of the fire, chemicals from the site entered the storm drain and then the Channel resulting in the creation of hydrogen sulfide gas that significantly impacted thousands of County residents.
The County and its Flood Control District incurred tens of millions of dollars in response costs from the resulting incident, including relocation benefits for residents, air filters, and various abatement measures.
"Today's lawsuit filing is critical to our ongoing efforts to seek accountability for the thousands of residents in Carson and its surrounding communities that endured —for several weeks— the stench that emanated from the Dominguez Channel," said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Holly J. Mitchell. "The property owners responsible for this must pay for their unlawful business practices that cost the County millions in damages and aid and more importantly, inflicted physical and mental harm on our residents."
The lawsuit seeks to:
- Recover the County's costs incurred in responding to the incident;
- Obtain injunctive relief and civil penalties for the public nuisance, the unlawful business practices, and the violations of hazardous waste and other laws.
"What the residents along the Dominguez Channel were put through is unforgivable. The months-long odor meant financial and emotional stress, on top of the weeks of discomfort," said Supervisor Janice Hahn. "While this lawsuit can't make up for what happened to everyone who was displaced from their homes, it is important that these businesses are held accountable. I also hope this will help prevent this from ever happening again."
The complaint is available below.
A hearing has not yet been scheduled on the matter.