Gas well blowout near Los Angeles leads to $1.8B settlement

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The utility has faced more than 385 lawsuits on behalf of 48,000 people.

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Thousands of families were sickened and forced from Los Angeles homes after the nation’s largest natural gas leak reached a $1.8 billion settlement with a utility, lawyers said Monday.

The settlement with Southern California Gas Company and its parent company, Sempra Energy, will indemnify 35,000 plaintiffs from the 2015 eruption, which took nearly four months to control.

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The Aliso Canyon eruption led to the largest known release of methane in US history and was blamed for sickening thousands of residents who ran out of homes San Fernando Valley To avoid sulfur odors and ailments including headaches, nausea and nose bleeds.

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The plaintiffs allege personal injury and property damage to their homes for their illnesses. SoCalGas spent more than $1 billion on the explosion—most of which is going to temporarily relocate 8,000 families. The utility has faced more than 385 lawsuits on behalf of 48,000 people.

“Our goal has always been to achieve justice for the men, women and children who were failed by SoCalGas at every turn of this disaster,” Attorney Brian Panish said in a statement.

The plaintiffs allege that they suffered personal injury and property damage after a natural gas storage well failed and uncontrollably released about 100,000 tons of gas. methane and other substances in the atmosphere over 118 days.

Sempra and SoCalGas denied wrongdoing, lawyers for the plaintiffs said. A company spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

State regulators found that the gas company failed to investigate past well failures at the storage site and did not adequately assess its older wells for disaster potential prior to the October 23, 2015, explosion.

SoCalGas previously had a $120 million court settlement with the state attorney general and $4 million with Los Angeles County prosecutors after pleading guilty to failing to promptly report the leak to state officials in Los Angeles Superior Court. agreed to the agreement.


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