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Environmental Law

Environmental laws can cover many topics, including the protection of air quality, water quality, waste and contaminant management, chemical usage, and more.

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What is Considered an Environmental Law Violation?

Environmental laws can cover many topics, including the protection of air quality, water quality, waste and contaminant management, chemical usage, and more.

Illegal discharge of toxic chemicals is destroying our water, air, and food. Environmental pollution may occur over an extended period such as through the constant injection of toxic waste into our groundwater, or swiftly and catastrophically such as through gas well blowouts, oil spills, wildfires sparked by an electrical failure, or other disasters at industrial facilities.

PARRIS lawyers are dedicated to protecting our most precious resources and handle cases involving water contamination, soil contamination, air contamination, wildfires, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the California Environmental Quality Act.

Established in 1985, PARRIS Law Firm possesses the expertise and financial resources to thoroughly investigate environmental cases and hold the offending parties accountable. We represent individuals, farmers, and other property and business owners and protect the environment from those who look to profit from the earth’s precious resources.

Gas Leaks and Blowouts

Natural gas can leak from almost anywhere: from electrical generating plants, gas storage facilities, or the web of pipelines that run under California’s streets.

Most people know the risk associated with gas leaks: when exposed to an open flame, gas leaks can cause explosions that destroy everything in its path. However, gas leaks on their own are extremely dangerous. Not only do major gas leaks speed up climate change, but large quantities of natural gas can sicken innocent people, causing confusion, respiratory problems, and long-term health issues.

Symptoms of Natural Gas Leaks

The symptoms of prolonged natural gas exposure include:

      • Frequent headaches
      • Blurred vision
      • Confusion
      • Nausea
      • Hair loss
      • Dizziness or fainting
      • Extreme fatigue
      • Fever
      • Eye and skin irritation
      • Respiratory problems

Natural gas leaks are often accompanied by a characteristic “rotten egg” smell. Plants may die, and your pets may experience abnormal symptoms, too.

Southern California Gas Leak Attorneys

If you have experienced any of these symptoms due to a gas leak, we are equipped to help you get justice. Contact PARRIS Law Firm today.

Since 1985, PARRIS attorneys have won over $3.7 Billion for clients. We’re some of the most experienced gas leak attorneys in California—we’re representing thousands of gas leak victims throughout Southern California. When you hire us for your gas leak lawsuit, you can rest easy knowing that you’re in excellent hands.

We currently represent victims of two gas-related environmental disasters: the Porter Ranch gas leak and the Sun Valley gas leak.

Porter Ranch Gas Leak: A Environmental Disaster

In 2015,SoCalGas negligently allowed massive amounts of natural gas to escape from the Aliso Canyon Gas Storage Facility above Porter Ranch, California. The subsequent Aliso Canyon gas well blowout continued for months, causing an environmental catastrophe on par with the B.P. oil spill. All told an estimated 100,000 tons of natural gas entered the atmosphere, poisoning the air around nearby Porter Ranch.

The effects of this gas leak have devastated Porter Ranch residents. Many have suffered nosebleeds, headaches, hives, respiratory illnesses, nausea, dizziness, and long-term exposure to methane, benzene, formaldehyde, and other chemicals. Schools were closed, and thousands were forced to relocate. Dozens of pets were killed.

Additionally, the brave firefighters defending Porter Ranch residents during the leak were repeatedly exposed to toxins, causing chronic and permanent illness and injury.

This gas well blowout (and the subsequent fallout) could have been prevented or slowed had SoCalGas not removed a safety valve from the broken well.

PARRIS currently represents thousands of Porter Ranch residents, as well as thirty firefighters exposed to toxins during the Porter Ranch gas leak. In September 2021, SoCalGas settled the case for $1.8 Billion.

Sun Valley Gas Leak

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) unfortunately did not learn from SoCalGas’s mistakes. In 2015, the Valley Generating Station, a nearly 70-year-old facility in Sun Valley, CA, spewed toxic gas that threatened the health and well-being of nearby residents. The leak continued to affect Sun Valley residents for years before LADWP announced the leak—over 1,000 days later.

Natural gas exposure can weaken a person’s immune system, making Sun Valley residents more vulnerable to COVID-19. LADWP failed to warn or protect people living, working, or attending school in Sun Valley, a predominantly Black and Latinx neighborhood.

Our environmental lawyers at PARRIS are fiercely fighting for Sun Valley residents affected by the leak. Learn more here.

Water Contamination in California

Water contamination occurs when the groundwater below the soil’s surface and above a layer of rock is contaminated through the illegal dumping of chemicals, saline, or carcinogens into the ground, which can affect the health of thousands of people drinking and using the contaminated water.

Groundwater is a major source of California’s drinking water supply, particularly during dry years. In addition to human consumption, it is used for crop irrigation, industrial cooling and rinsing, and it replenishes rivers, wetlands, and streams that support wildlife. As California faces prolonged periods of drought, the groundwater supply is essential for meeting California’s water needs.

Our water can be contaminated from sources such as industrial chemical disposal, groundwater pumping and injection, agricultural runoff, road salt, toxic chemical spills, leaking fuel tanks, and improper disposal of waste.

Water Pollution Effects

Toxins that have been found frequently in polluted water can include arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, benzene, chromium, saline, mercury, nitrite, thallium, and other chemicals. The ingestion of these toxins can cause severe negative health impacts such as damage to the lungs, bones, liver, kidney, blood, and brain, infertility, and cancer, among other side effects.

Pollutants can travel hundreds of feet, and in some cases miles, from the source of the contamination through the groundwater. If you are concerned about the risk to you and your loved ones that your contaminated water may pose, contact an attorney to begin the process of testing the water, investigating the source of contamination, and holding responsible polluters accountable.

Toxic Torts and Environmental Contamination

As industry continues to grow, so does the risk of environmental contamination. Large manufacturers generate massive amounts of waste that needs to be disposed of both properly and safely. Unfortunately, this waste is often deliberately dumped into oceans or landfills, where it pollutes the waters or contaminates the soil. When this negligent dumping occurs near populated areas, the effects on residents can be devastating, causing illness and even wrongful death.

When you have been harmed by a company’s negligence to the environment, you’ll need powerful attorney representation to ensure your rights are protected. PARRIS toxic torts lawyers can ensure you will be justly compensated for damages associated with this type of egregiously unjust personal injury. Our lawyers have the experience and resources necessary to litigate these often complex cases effectively.

Complexities of Toxic Tort Cases

Toxic tort lawsuits are typically difficult to prove because the connection between exposure to a toxic chemical and a resulting injury or disease is often hard to determine. Many cancers, such as mesothelioma, that result from toxic exposure can develop for years before the appearance of physical symptoms. However, with diligence and care, a connection can be successfully established and negligence proven.

PARRIS toxic torts attorneys will review technical reports, analytical data, air modeling inputs and outputs, boring logs, ecological studies, mechanical integrity records, engineering specifications or technical drawings, and other applicable documentation to determine the cause of injury. Our lawyers will consult with toxicologists, doctors, and other experts who can demonstrate links between exposure to dangerous toxins or chemicals and illness and injury.

Successful Toxic Tort Lawsuits Require Timely Action

Prompt action is crucial to the success of toxic tort lawsuits. With adequate time, our attorneys can take measures to preserve evidence, investigate the facts surrounding the claim, and locate experts who can evaluate victims’ injuries. Even more importantly, most toxic tort actions must be filed within a certain period for the claim to be valid. Beyond the period imposed by the relevant statute of limitations, victims have little or no legal entitlement to compensation.

Types of Toxic Tort Cases

The types of toxic tort cases handled by PARRIS Law Firm can involve a range of serious illnesses and injuries, including:

      • Illnesses caused by lead poisoning, toxic mold problems, or carbon monoxide poisoning
      • Significant burn injuries caused by chemical spills or explosions
      • Serious illness due to long-term exposure to solvents, asbestos, silicates, polyvinyl chlorides, mercury, and other industrial chemicals and materials
      • Sickness due to exposure to radioactive substances such as radon, barium, thorium, or other materials often used in clinical settings
      • Diseases caused by exposure to soil or groundwater toxins, often resulting from leaking underground storage tanks for benzene, gasoline, or other dangerous compounds
      • Illnesses resulting from the careless or reckless use of pesticides or herbicides in agricultural areas.

Hyperion Sewage Spill: Sewer Gas Toxic Tort Case

PARRIS toxic tort lawyers will be representing the victims of a recent environmental disaster in El Segundo, CA: the Hyperion Sewage Spill.

In July 2021, L.A. Sanitation & Environment (LASAN)’s negligence caused untreated, raw sewage to flood the surface of the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant in Playa Del Rey, CA. The spill released hydrogen sulfide and other toxic gases into the air, polluting nearby homes in El Segundo. Life became unbearable for residents: as El Segundo residents began to get sick from sewer gas exposure, many were forced to relocate or install expensive air conditioning.

Sewer gas exposure can lead to a range of symptoms, including anxiety, dizziness, respiratory distress, and nausea. LASAN could have protected El Segundo residents from sewer gas exposure, yet failed to do so. PARRIS lawyers are committed to protecting the rights of El Segundo residents who have suffered from LASAN’s negligence.

Compensation for Toxic Tort Damages

Our toxic tort lawyers will aggressively pursue justice on behalf of those harmed by exposure to toxic substances. When the reckless or careless actions of others cause this exposure, victims are entitled to compensation for damages incurred as a result, including:

      • Past and future medical expenses
      • Rehabilitation expenses
      • Past and future lost wages
      • Loss of earning capacity
      • Pain and suffering

In cases in which exposure has led to the wrongful death of the victim, surviving family members may be entitled to additional compensation, including awards for burial and funeral expenses and loss of support.

California Wildfires

Every year, the 40 Million residents of California brace for the state’s infamous wildfire season. From June to November, hot weather and dry conditions make the state perfect kindling for devastating wildfires. As much as we try to prepare for these incidents, wildfires are difficult to control, and fires in years past have devastated natural areas, structures, and entire towns.

Losing your home to a wildfire is devastating. Victims will struggle with losing their homes, memories, property, and (in horrible cases) pets and loved ones due to wildfire damage. At PARRIS, we have seen firsthand how traumatic this process can be, and we are equipped to walk you through the rebuilding process and get you the compensation you deserve.

Navigating The Insurance System After a Fire

If you or your loved ones have found yourselves in the path of a wildfire, there are a number of steps to take in case of property damage. First, it is important to take care of yourself and your family, ensuring you are out of harm’s way and securing alternate housing. Once you have secured housing, you should contact your insurance companies for all of your policies, and file a claim under any and all insurance policies that you own. Request a copy of your insurance policies including all declarations pages and endorsements.

All communication with your insurer should be in writing, and you can expect a response from your insurer within 15 days of your communication if it requires a response. Many insurance policies will have additional living expenses coverage in evacuation situations, so you’ll want to keep all receipts that demonstrate your evacuation and the additional living expenses that are required during that time.

Your insurer will request an inventory of all personal items destroyed by the fire. It is important to compile as thorough and complete a list as possible. This can be done by visualizing the items in each room of your house, relying on photos and memories from friends and families, and checking credit card statements, shopping accounts like Amazon, and emails to show the items you may have purchased for your home and their value.

California Wildfire Insurance Protection

California’s Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations require insurance companies to act in good faith in their dealings with you, conduct cooperative investigations, and meet certain standards in communication.

Despite these legislative protections, insurance companies don’t always play fair and may do what they can to minimize your losses in order to save themselves money. To combat this, it’s important to hire an experienced insurance attorney to advocate for your insurance rights on your behalf. Insurance policies are complex documents. Having an experienced attorney on your side can help you understand your rights and maximize the value of your insurance claims.

Related Cases

Environment law encompasses various legal matters related to the protection and preservation of the environment. It encompasses a wide range of cases concerning environmental regulations and the rights and responsibilities of individuals and organizations in relation to natural resources and ecosystems.

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