The national law firm of Baron & Budd, as part of the plaintiffs’ steering committee, announced a $1.8 billion settlement with Southern California Gas Company and its parent company Sempra Energy over personal injury and property damage claims related to the 2015 Aliso Canyon natural gas blowout.
The Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility is located near Porter Ranch in Los Angeles County, California. Over 35,000 victims in the surrounding community were affected by the leak, including complaints of nausea, rashes, nosebleeds, respiratory problems, and other symptoms.
During the blowout, 8,300 homes had to be evacuated after 109,000 metric tons of methane were released into the environment over 118 days, making it the biggest natural gas leak in U.S. history.
“This settlement is a major success for the tens of thousands of area residents affected by the negligent actions of SoCalGas,” said Baron & Budd Shareholder, Roland Tellis. “Companies like SoCalGas have a duty to operate safely and responsibly in our communities and we will hold these companies accountable when they fail to do so.”
During the litigation, SoCalGas, Sempra Energy, and their counsel Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP were sanctioned over $5.7 million for wrongfully withholding over 150,000 documents, in one of the largest discovery sanctions in California history.
The area residents are represented by Baron & Budd alongside Panish Shea & Boyle LLP, Boucher LLP, Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy LLP, Kirtland Packard LLP, Kiesel Law LLP, Morgan & Morgan, Parris Law Firm, and Weitz & Luxenberg.