Settlement approved in personal injury class action lawsuit against Shell Oil Company by Carson residents who live above a contaminated former waste oil site.
In the sixties, developers built homes in the Carson Carousel neighborhood atop what had once been open pits of waste oil. Over decades, residents and their pets developed nosebleeds, tumors and other health problems they attribute to lingering contamination. Shell had owned and operated the facility before selling it to developer Barclay Hollander. This settlement, approved by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Highberger, will pay for personal injury claims and lawyer’s fees from a class action lawsuit. Barclay Hollander, now owned by Dole Foods, has not settled, and remains a target in the suit, which is scheduled for trial later this year. “We are pleased that the court has approved the settlement,” said Shell spokesman Alan Caldwell, in a written statement, adding that it “brings the Mayor, City Council members, the residents and Shell closer to resolving issues in the neighborhood.” Residents, regulators and Shell continue to spar over the extent of cleanup still required. The settlement doesn’t end Shell’s responsibility for the contamination, Caldwell acknowledged. “The health, safety and well-being of the residents in the Carousel community continues to be the priority for Shell,” he said. The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board has ordered the company to pay for remediation of soil and groundwater around and under nearly 300 homes. Tests show that waste oil, once about 10 feet deep, now lies as much as 50 feet below the surface. The water board’s executive officer, Sam Unger, characterized the site as unique. “Most of the industrial sites we have are contaminated by industrial chemicals or refined petroleum products. This is a site primarily characterized by refined crude oil,” Unger said. “Consequently, how the contamination may or may not move underneath the site is more uncertain. And given that uncertainty we’ve been developing high-quality data on which to base future plans.” Regulators are now weighing public comments on proposed cleanup, anticipated to cost $146 million. Unger says he expects to finalize a clean-up plan later this year. Orginally posted by Molly Peterson on scpr.org. Personal Injury – Ball & Bonholtzer Trial Attorney – Los Angeles