Hazardous Gas Over Carson, California Inspires Lawsuit

Delayed response may be indicative of racial prejudices

McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP, (MWA) is bringing a lawsuit over the noxious gas buildup over Carson, California, emanating from the Dominguez Channel.

On October 3, 2021, residents of Carson, California, began smelling a foul odor both indoors and out. Residents claim the odor is strongest around the Dominguez Channel, a perennial river which has suffered from California’s drought. Despite the myriad complaints from Carson citizens of the nauseating smell, air quality officials did not inform the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works (DPW), the agency responsible for maintenance of the Dominguez Channel, until four days later. The DPW’s investigation found that the odor was that of hydrogen sulfide. The origin of the gas buildup has been theorized to be a result of pileups of decaying vegetation and animal carcasses which might have been washed away if not for the drought, though more recent reports suggest the Jupiter Warehouse fire upstream may have polluted the Dominguez Channel with the noxious chemicals. 

If you are a resident of Carson and have suffered from respiratory symptoms or have been displaced from your home, contact MWA today by filling out the form or call 301-804-1885.

Residents are Suffering Respiratory Distress

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) classifies hydrogen sulfide as “highly toxic,” allegedly leading to health concerns up to and including unconsciousness. Despite this, Los Angeles County officials initially claimed the concentration of the gas was “too low to cause long-term health effects.” City officials urged residents to stay indoors and keep doors and windows closed or to relocate temporarily.  Carson, California residents who are considering a lawsuit have complained of symptoms including: 

  • Headaches/Migraines
  • Nausea
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Choking

If you are a Carson resident experiencing any of these symptoms or have been displaced from your home. Please fill out the form or calling 301-804-1885 today.

Government Responses to the Odor Could Indicate Discrimination

Hydrogen sulfide continued to build up for weeks, allegedly causing severe health concerns for locals. On October 11, 2021, the Carson City Council declared the odor a “public nuisance,” and four days later, the DPW finally began treating the channel with Epoleon, a deodorizer. However, they failed to bring enough Epoleon, causing a delay in treatment while they awaited a shipment from across the country, and later realized their treatment methods were insufficient to stop the smell. 

The hydrogen sulfide buildup continues to be a significant public health concern as Carson waits for help. The major delays in treatment have led many Carson, California, residents to believe there are discriminatory practices at work that can only be righted through a lawsuit. This lack of urgency has led many to believe the situation would not have been so poorly handled if it occurred in a whiter or wealthier community. 

Carson has one of the highest concentrations of oil refineries in California, leading to exorbitant amounts of pollution dumped into the air and soil. Despite being named one of California’s most polluted cities by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, refineries have been allowed to continue spewing hundreds of thousands of pounds of pollutants into the Carson air—a problem almost unheard of in areas like Malibu, Beverly Hills, or Hermosa Beach.  

If you are a Carson resident who can’t afford to evacuate and experiencing respiratory symptoms, contact us by completing the form or call 301-804-1885 today for your free consultation!

Attorney Handling this Case

Portrait of David C. Wright, Partner of McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP
Partner
David C. Wright

David C. Wright is a partner of McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP. Prior to 2001, he was a federal prosecutor in the Major Crimes Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. Since 2001, Mr. Wright has used his litigation and trial skills to hold vehicle manufacturers, product manufacturers, and fraudulent businesses responsible for their actions.

Since leaving the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2001, he has applied his experience as a prosecutor to successfully litigate numerous defective product cases against some of the nation’s largest corporations. Prior to working at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Wright clerked for the Honorable Stephen S. Trott, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

His training, experience, and trial skills in this specialized field enable him to identify, understand, and present to a jury the difficult and complicated issues of how an accident and injury occurred and how the tragic results could have been avoided by the use of a safer design.

As a partner at McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP, Mr. Wright is the leading Inland Empire attorney that focuses his practice on the representation of clients who have suffered catastrophic injury or the death of a loved one because of a dangerous product.

  • Cory’s a fighter and offers exceptional representations to his clients. He’s also a great representative for the Inland Empire.
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Are you a Carson resident who has experienced acute respiratory symptoms?