Five more suits filed in deadly mudslide

first_img However, residents believe terracing the hill – which would cost tens of millions of dollars – would stabilize it and prevent further slides. State officials also have been reluctant to try to shore up the hillside. The county and state have talked about conducting a comprehensive study of the bluff, but no cost figures or timelines have been set. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card The county was aware of the potential threat and had a sufficient time before the landslide to take protective measures, the lawsuit states. “They should have required the hillside to be fixed,” plaintiffs’ attorney Anthony Murray said. “They took no steps to assist residents by requiring the La Conchita Ranch Co. (which owns the hillside) to make the area safe.” Ventura County Counsel Noel Klebaum declined to comment Friday about the lawsuit. Attorney Frank Sabaitis, who represents the ranch company, said the lawsuit doesn’t have any merit. “Based upon research, facts and information from experts, there is no factual basis for the ranch’s liability,” Sabaitis said. County officials have said that they have warned residents about the dangers of living in La Conchita, about 70 miles northwest of Los Angeles, and are unsure there is anything that can be done to prevent the landslides. Several geologists who have examined the hillside believe it will collapse again. Residents of a seaside town hit by a deadly landslide last year filed lawsuits against Ventura County and a private ranch company, claiming both were negligent in protecting the community. Twenty-three lawsuits have been filed in Ventura County Superior Court, covering a total of 39 plaintiffs. Five of the cases were filed Friday. Among the allegations are wrongful death, negligence, trespassing and damaged property. The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages. The lawsuits claim Ventura County officials failed to protect residents of La Conchita from a Jan. 10, 2005, mudslide that killed 10 people, destroyed 13 homes and damaged 23 others. A towering bluff above the community became saturated from a series of winter storms and a torrent of earth cascaded into the streets. last_img

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