Protesters and attendants at an Aliso Canyon community meeting. (credit: Cal OES)
In late January, an elderly woman with lung cancer died in the community of Porter Ranch just north of Los Angeles. Shortly thereafter, her family sued Southern California Gas Company (PDF) for wrongful death in connection with a massive natural gas leak that started in the area in late October.
The woman, Zelda Rothman, was diagnosed in spring 2015, several months before the leak started. While the family isn’t asserting that Rothman’s lung cancer was caused by the gas leak, they claim that the leak hastened her death.
Rothman lived less than three miles from the leak, the complaint states, attributing her alleged undoing to her proximity. “Continuously leaking gas exacerbated Ms. Rothman’s condition and disrupted her already fragile health. The gas replaced precious oxygen in the air that she breathed, causing her to suffer from difficult and labored breathing.” Eventually, Rothman had to be placed on an oxygen tank 24 hours a day. The gas also allegedly caused “intense headaches and migraines, among other symptoms.”
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