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 December 12, 2015 - 11:00 AM EST
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First Personal Injury Lawsuit Filed Against Southern California Gas Company Over Porter Ranch Gas Leak

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 12, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The first of many individual lawsuits against Southern California Gas Company (SoCal Gas) and Sempra Energy was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by Kennedy & Madonna LLP,  Morgan & Morgan, Panish Shea & Boyle LLP, and the R. Rex Parris Law Firm. The Katz family made the difficult decision to take legal action because SoCalGas has not stepped up to relocate the family, address their medical needs, or compensate them for their financial losses as a result of SoCalGas’ negligence. The entire family is experiencing severe health issues as a result of the leak. The youngest of the family, 2-year-old daughter Ava, has been experiencing the worst symptoms from the gas leak exposure. She suffered from some type of seizure and “spent four nights in ICU for ‘upper respiratory symptoms’ with no prior health problem.”  Ava “is now listless, suffering from persistent rashes, and painful nausea.”  The Katz’'s two dogs are sick as well, making recovery virtually impossible for this family in Porter Ranch.

“What SoCal Gas is doing to kids is absolutely deplorable…make no mistake about this, kids are being poisoned, and they’re doing nothing about it,” said attorney Patricia K. Oliver of the R. Rex Parris Law Firm. According to the complaint, “the Katz family is suffering from physical problems including neurological, gastrointestinal, and respiratory ailments, including dizziness, light-headedness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and nosebleeds."

“Southern California Gas Company has shown complete disregard not only for the safety of communities near these defective wells but also for the adverse short and long term impacts on the health of its customers," says Brian Panish.  "The company’s slogan, 'Southern California Gas Co. has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years,' rings hollow in the ears of the hundreds of Porter Ranch residents displaced from their homes in the holiday season thanks to SoCalGas’ failure to live up to this promise."

The Aliso Canyon gas leak was caused by “an injection well failure and blowout...sending natural gas mixed with various other chemicals including benzene (a known carcinogen) hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, and methane into the air and settling in the Porter Ranch community. Now, residents are breathing in toxic fumes that’s making them sick.

“The scariest part about all of this is we do not know the long term health effects this high exposure level poses to the Porter Ranch community” said R. Rex Parris.

According to the complaint, the California Air Resources Board released a report estimating that natural gas at the Aliso Canyon storage facility is currently leaking at a rate of approximately 50,000 kilograms per hour.  Other estimates suggest that this is 25% of all methane released in California…Even at low levels of exposure, these chemicals impair the quality of life.  In Porter Ranch, SoCal Gas admits there are outdoor air samples of hydrogen sulfide at levels of 183 ppb. This is more than six times the state standard for minor impacts that cause headaches and nausea the complaint alleges.

“The impact this is having in the Porter Ranch community is not something to be ignored.  The first thing SoCal Gas needs to do is to relocate Porter Ranch families to comparable housing, especially the Katz family," said R. Rex Parris. “The Katz family is seven people strong with two sick dogs. A family of this size needs a house, not a hotel!" said Parris.

A copy of the complaint can be found here.

For more information and to view the gas leak video, visit www.porterranchlawsuit.com

About Kennedy & Madonna
Kennedy & Madonna, LLP is an environmental law firm that specializes in representing communities that have been impacted by pollution.  The firm uses a variety of legal tools including federal citizen suits, administrative challenges and tort law to hold polluters accountable for their actions.  The firm was formed in 2000 by founding partners Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Kevin J. Madonna. For more information, visit www.kennedymadonna.com

About Panish Shea & Boyle LLP
Panish Shea & Boyle LLP is a plaintiff's personal injury law firm that takes on large corporations and government entities whose negligence causes our clients' injuries, and holds them accountable. In June 2014, Panish Shea & Boyle obtained at $19.8 million jury verdict to a man who suffered severe burn and traumatic brain injuries when his rental home exploded as a result of a Southern California Gas Company's negligence. In 2008, the firm obtained a $15 million jury verdict against SoCalGas for a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a company truck. Panish Shea & Boyle LLP also represented numerous plaintiffs in the San Bruno PG&E gas explosion cases. Our attorneys are and have always been champions of consumer rights. The size, clout or financial strength of wrongdoers is never a deterrent to our pursuit for justice. For more information, visit www.psblaw.com

About the Law Firm of Morgan & Morgan
Morgan & Morgan is one of the largest exclusively plaintiffs' law firms in the US, with 25 offices throughout Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and New York. The firm handles cases nationally and has been a leader in cases such as the BP Oil spill and Chinese Drywall litigation. We have over 300 lawyers with years of experience involving personal injury, medical malpractice, consumer class action, and securities fraud--as well as complex litigation against drug and medical device manufacturers. For more information, visit www.forthepeople.com

About The R. Rex Parris Law Firm
For over 30 years, R. Rex Parris has devoted his practice to protecting the rights of injured people and aggrieved workers.  With over $1.1 Billion recovered on behalf of clients, Rex and his dedicated team has the experience and track record necessary to help families in need.  The R. Rex Parris Law Firm provides thorough, high-quality representation with integrity and compassion.  These lawyers fight aggressively to ensure their clients get the compensation they deserve.  For more information, visit www.rrexparris.com

Media Contacts: 
Angela Bailey (909) 286-4040 bailey@psblaw.com
Dante Hickles (661) 949-2595 or dhickles@rrexparris.com

Source: GlobeNewswire (December 12, 2015 - 11:00 AM EST)

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