Several lawsuits were filed last week against the County of Ventura and the La Conchita Ranch Company claiming a “breach of legal duties” leading up to last January’s fatal mudslide, including wrongful death, negligence, dangerous condition of public property, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. While ranch and county officials contend they are not to blame for the tragedy – some 200 similar suits filed immediately following the slide were all denied – the 39 plaintiffs claim a retaining wall built after the 1995 slide actually diverted mud onto the afflicted areas and a county warning device not only failed, but also gave locals a false sense of security. Residents also claim the ranch – located on the bluff above the small seaside community – should have anticipated the possibility of the slide since they were sued under similar circumstances several years ago.
Originally published 9:15 p.m., February 2, 2006
Updated 3:31 p.m., February 18, 2006
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