Los Angeles, Feb. 22 (Reuters): Environmental pollution crusader Erin Brockovich and partner Ed Masry have a new cause cancer-causing gases they say lurk beneath the well-manicured streets of Beverly Hills.
The two, subjects of the popular film Erin Brockovich, said yesterday they were preparing a lawsuit against the city of Beverly Hills and three oil companies for allegedly ignoring cancer-causing toxic gases leaking from oil wells on the Beverly Hills High School grounds.
Masry told Reuters the lawsuit would be filed within a month in Los Angeles Superior Court against the city, the school district and Occidental Petroleum Corp. , ChevronTexaco Corp. and privately held Venoco Inc. of Carpinteria, California, on behalf of more than 80 cancer patients who are former students, teachers or school employees.
We have seen no lawsuit filed or no legal complaint so it would not be appropriate for me to comment, said ChevronTexaco Corp. spokesman Fred Gorell.
Occidental spokeswoman Jan Sieving said: We do not own or operate any wells in or near the Beverly Hills area and we have not been informed of any allegations and have not seen a complaint.
Brockovich and Masry became famous as the legal team that forced utility company Pacific Gas & Electric to pay $333 million in 1996 to settle a water contamination lawsuit brought by the town of Hinckley, California. Julia Roberts won an Oscar for playing Brockovich.