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Canoga Park Water Contamination Lawsuit

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Legally Reviewed By: Ryan Ellis
Senior Attorney | Business Litigation

Mask group (17)

Legally Reviewed By: Ryan Ellis
Senior Attorney | Business Litigation

Our environmental attorneys at the Lanier Law Firm are representing residents of Los Angeles’ Canoga Park and Winnetka neighborhoods living in homes above a contaminated groundwater plume. The chemicals in the groundwater are volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that can pass through the soil as gases that make their way into the 3,500 to 4,000 homes in these two Los Angeles suburbs. 

Exposure to these chemicals may cause serious health effects, including cancer and birth defects, for residents. Based on the actions of its predecessor, Northrop Grumman is responsible for the groundwater contamination and has been aware of it since the 1960s. However, it failed to disclose the contamination to those who purchased affected properties.

If you are a homeowner in the Canoga Park or Winnetka sections of Los Angeles, you may be entitled to recover significant financial compensation and injunctive relief to remedy the toxic vapor intrusion threatening your home and potentially threatening your health for years. Contact our award-winning Canoga Park water contamination attorneys today for a free case evaluation.

Why Should I Trust the Lanier Law Firm To Handle My Water Contamination Case?

Our nationally recognized law firm is at the forefront of the Canoga Park water contamination litigation. Our attorneys have spent the last three years investigating the effects of the contamination, consulting with experts, and gathering evidence against Northrop Grumman. We have invested our time, resources, and manpower into this litigation and are already fighting for Canoga Park and Winnetka homeowners in court. 

Our environmental contamination attorneys are accomplished trial lawyers who have won over $20 billion in compensation for clients who have suffered toxic exposures and other harm. Our remarkable record of historical results includes numerous record-setting verdicts and settlements against some of the largest companies in the world. We have immense experience in environmental claims and are currently representing numerous clients in environmental contamination cases, such as the following:

  • Hazardous waste claims against Union Pacific
  • Carteret, New Jersey, Smelter fallout claims against U.S. Metals Refining Co.
  • Franklin, Indiana, water contamination claims against Honeywell International Inc. and others
  • Florida radioactive waste claims against Mosaic Mining Co. and two developers
  • Florida radiation contamination claims against Drummond Co.

On April 22, 2024, we won an $8 million verdict against BNSF Railroad for asbestos contamination in Libby, Montana.

How Can the Lanier Law Firm Help with My Canoga Park Water Contamination Lawsuit?

If you live in Canoga Park or Winnetka, we can determine whether your property is affected and answer your questions about the contamination. If we determine your home has been impacted, we’ll advise you of your legal rights. We can file a lawsuit to seek damages and demand that Northrop Grummond remedy your property’s contamination so you can live in your home without fearing for your health.

We have asked the court to grant class-action status to the Canoga Park and Winnetka water contamination claims. This strategy will increase efficiency and allow affected homeowners to participate in the litigation with as little burden as possible. If the judge denies our request, we have already done the work and gathered the evidence to file separate claims expeditiously.

Our Featured Canoga Park Water
Contamination Lawyers

Mark Lanier

Mark Lanier is the founder of the Lanier Law Firm and a Hall-of-Fame trial lawyer who has won some of the largest verdicts in history during his impressive 40-year career. He is a leader in the legal world who mentors and teaches other attorneys how to be successful at trial. The New York Times has dubbed him “one of the top civil trial lawyers in America.”  

Ryan Ellis

Ryan Ellis has over a decade of experience securing significant settlements and verdicts against large companies. He has won national recognition as a Super Lawyer, Best Lawyers “Ones to Watch,” and the National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40.

Alex Brown

Alex Brown is a world-class trial lawyer with extensive experience in state, federal, and appellate courts. He has been named among the Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America and has an AV Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell—the highest rating for legal skill and ethics.

Chris Nidel

Chris Nidel of Nidel & Nace has a Master’s degree in chemical engineering and over two-decades of toxic tort and environmental litigation experience.  He brings a highly technical approach to building a case, preparing expert testimony, and litigating and trying complex litigation.

How Did the Water in Canoga Park and Winnetka Become Contaminated?

The contamination in Canoga Park originated with Litton Industries, known today as Northrop Grumman. Litton Industries was an electronics company that manufactured circuit boards in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The company was also involved in copper plating, silk screening, photo printing, and chemical stripping. These operations released volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, into the soil, groundwater, and air. The primary chemicals of concern are trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE). 

The site was located at 8020 Deering Avenue in Canoga Park. The soil contamination extends approximately two-and-a-half miles south and southeast of the site, covering all of Canoga Park and part of Winnetka. The California Regional Water Quality Control Board in Los Angeles has determined that the dimensions of the contaminated area are 2.4 miles long by 1.8 miles wide.

The chemicals that initially affected the soil have seeped into the groundwater but remain within 15 to 40 feet of the ground surface, allowing them to rise through the soil as a gas. The gas plume enters the breathing space above it, inside and outside homes and structures. 

Who Does the Contaminated Water in Canoga Park and Winnetka Affect?

When the chemicals in the contaminated water vaporize and leech into the home, it can affect the health of anyone living there. Pregnant women and young children have the greatest risks of harm. Approximately 3,500 to 4,000 Canoga Park and Winnetka homes sit atop the toxic plume. If you live in either of these communities, your home may be affected even if no one ever told you that your home is in a contaminated area.

One of the most upsetting parts about this case is that the people we represent in this community are good people. They’re working-class people. They’re people with young children at home many times. And none of them moved to this area knowing the contamination was there. This contamination was not disclosed to them by the defendant. The defendant knew about it since the ’60s…They knew that they were exposing people to these dangerous chemicals, and they didn’t say anything. They did everything they could to appease the regulators enough to just kick the can down the road a little longer.  — Ryan Ellis

Our Canoga Park water contamination lawyers can determine whether your home is in the affected area and take legal action on your behalf.

What Are the Health Effects of the Contaminated Water in Canoga Park and Winnetka?

The EPA is especially concerned with the chemicals known as TCE and PCE. PCE was formerly a dry cleaning chemical. The EPA has banned it for dry cleaning and several other uses due to its toxicity. The EPA is considering a total ban on TCE. TCE and PCE are known carcinogens linked to the following cancers:

  • Kidney cancer
  • Some types of leukemia
  • Non-Hodgkins lymphoma
  • Hodgkins disease
  • A birth defect related to the heart

Are There Any Delayed Health Effects I Might Still Experience?

Cancer is a latent illness that may not appear for many years after exposure to TCE and PCE. An illness may develop even after you move away or the toxic plume is remedied. 

The Regional Water Quality Control Board has ordered Northrop Grumman to clean up the site. However, Northrop Grumman has no concrete plan to mitigate individual homes for vapor intrusion, and the company’s own consultants have admitted that the contamination may continue for a decade or longer. Northrop Grumman is performing some monitoring and testing but is not taking active steps to address the long-term threat of vapor intrusion. 

We assert that all property owners in the affected area are entitled to immediate remediation so they can safely live in their homes and enjoy their properties.

Has the Contaminated Water Affected the Drinking Water Supply?

There is no evidence that the contamination at Canoga Park or Winnetka has affected the drinking water supply. The danger is that the toxins in the groundwater can vaporize, leach through the soil, and enter the ambient air inside the home. If you suspect your home is on the contamination plume, have your doctor note the exposure in your medical record, and contact our law firm as soon as possible. We can determine whether your home is in the affected area and advise you of your legal rights.

How Can I Tell If I Have Been Affected by Canoga Park or Winnetka Water Contamination?

If you have lived in Canoga Park or Winnetka and developed cancer or your child was born with a birth defect, you may have been affected by the water contamination. Unfortunately, there is no real way to know whether you are being affected until after you experience a devastating effect, such as cancer.

The insidious thing about this contamination is there’s really no way of knowing by smelling it or seeing it whether these chemicals have vaporized from the groundwater and entered your home at levels that could pose a risk to human health. These chemicals pose a risk to human health at levels far less than when you can start smelling them or certainly when you can see them.  — Ryan Ellis

What Is the Current Status of the Litigation?

We sued Northrop Grumman over three years ago on behalf of homeowners in Canoga Park and Winnetka. We have since done the following:

  • Conducted discovery
  • Produced millions of pages of documents
  • Questioned witnesses in depositions
  • Hired experts to write in-depth reports
  • Sought class action certification in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

A class-action lawsuit will give us more leverage against the defendants while making the litigation more efficient and cost-effective for affected homeowners. If you live in Canoga Park or Winnetka, it is important to contact us now so we can keep you informed about the litigation. However, if the judge denies our request to certify the litigation as a class action, we will represent homeowners individually.

What Types of Damages Can I Recover in a Water Contamination Lawsuit?

We are seeking the following three remedies for Canoga Park and Winnetka homeowners:

  • Compensation for diminished property values
  • Mitigation of the contamination
  • Punitive Damages

Diminished Property Value

Your property’s location on a toxic plume may have dramatically reduced its value, making it impossible to sell without losing substantial money. We hold that Northrop Grumman is liable because it failed to disclose the vapor intrusion when you purchased your property and that you are entitled to compensation for the diminution of your property value.

Mitigation

We are asking the court to order Northrop Grumman to take appropriate steps to remove the danger. One potential solution is to create a barrier to the toxic gases so that they do not enter homes, similar to how radon mitigation works.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded in rare civil cases when the evidence shows that the defendant’s conduct was deliberate, outrageous, or grossly negligent. Their purpose is not to compensate the victim but to punish the defendant and deter future misconduct. We allege Northrop Grumman’s failure to warn homeowners about the toxic vapor intrusion and its ongoing refusal to take corrective action and remove the danger was willful, wanton, careless, reckless, and negligent.

What Should I Do If I Suspect My Home Is Affected?

If you suspect your home is in the affected area, contact our law firm immediately using our online form or by calling (866) 341-1675. 
We are working on obtaining a class-action settlement for all affected homeowners, but if this is not certified, we will pursue an individual claim on your behalf. In either case, contacting us will allow us to understand your circumstances and advise you on the best course of action.

With more than three decades of experience and a proven track record, you can trust that we have the skill, experience, and stamina to get you the results you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

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