Builder Sues, Saying Gas Leak Dinged Sales

February 6, 2018

Toll Brothers, a luxury homebuilder, filed a lawsuit against Southern California Gas over an extensive gas leak a few years ago that the builder claims caused one of its master plan developments to no longer be desirable to buyers.

The 2015–2016 gas leak in the Aliso Canyon area in California is considered the worst natural gas leak in U.S. history. The leak lasted nearly four months. Thousands of residents from the Porter Ranch community and nearby were forced to relocate. Many also reported illnesses, such as headaches, nausea, and nosebleeds.

Toll Brothers says its nearby development in the Porter Ranch area saw sales of new homes come to a halt after the leak. Its lawsuit says that more than 20 home buyers who were under contract canceled their purchases.

Toll Brothers also said in the lawsuit that in the six months before and after the leak, its net home sales in the development went from 74 to a negative 1 in contract cancellations. The builder is suing SoCal Gas over what it says has been extensive financial losses.

The lawsuit further alleges that SoCal Gas was aware back in 2008 that its wells were in danger of a blowout. The builder accuses the company of not taking the proper steps to prevent it.

SoCal Gas has not commented publicly on the current lawsuit.

More than 340 lawsuits are pending against SoCal Gas related to the gas leak in Aliso Canyon.

Source: “Homebuilder Toll Brothers Sues SoCal Over Porter Ranch Leak,” (Feb. 3, 2018)