From October 2015 to February 2016, a gas storage facility managed by Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) near Porter Ranch, California, leaked 100,000 tons of methane and other gas into the surrounding neighborhood. It was the largest gas leak to date in the United States. The leak was caused by the rupture of an oil well that had been neglected by SoCalGas for decades.
However, the rupture was to be expected. SoCalGas knew of other similar wells where corrosion deteriorated up to 60% of the well casing, the component that protects the well walls’ integrity. Without adequate casing, the walls become susceptible to structural damage. Nonetheless, SoCalGas elected to ignore the corrosion and its inevitable damage to the well walls.
When the corrosion ruptured the well in Porter Ranch in 2015–2016, large amounts of methane decreased oxygen levels in the air. Residents experienced the hallmarks of methane exposure, including nosebleeds, nausea, dizziness,
vomiting, and headaches.
Most egregiously, after discovering the gas leak, SoCalGas declined to alert the California Office of Emergency Services and Los Angeles County Fire Department for 3 days, even as Porter Ranch residents continued to suffer from methane exposure. SoCalGas was criminally charged for this concealment. When the gas leak was finally disclosed, over 8,000 residents evacuated from Porter Ranch and the surrounding communities. Though the leak was eventually repaired, many Porter Ranch residents continued to have symptoms.
Over 48,000 Porter Ranch residents filed civil lawsuits against SoCalGas to recover damages for their personal injuries, property damage, and pain and suffering from the gas leak. In January 2021, the Los Angeles Superior Court ruled that these civil cases could proceed to trial.
If you were impacted by this gas leak or have already filed a lawsuit against SoCalGas and are unsure of your case’s status, please call the experienced environmental lawyers at ACTS Law for help. We will explain every step of the
legal process and ensure that you receive the financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation call us today at 833-ACTS-LAWopens phone dialer or contact us online.
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