Settlements reached in lawsuits alleging manufacturer contaminated groundwater in El Cajon

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EL CAJON (CNS) – Settlements have been reached in a pair of class-action lawsuits regarding alleged exposure to waste materials stored below ground near three mobile home parks and an elementary school in El Cajon.

The lawsuits concern the alleged contamination via manufacturing process materials stored by Ametek, which manufactured aircraft engine parts for more than 20 years at 790 Greenfield Drive in El Cajon. Plaintiffs allege the materials contaminated groundwater, soil vapor and indoor air at nearby properties.

The settlements, which still require final approval from a judge, would apply to a number of former and current residents of the Greenfield Mobile Estates, Starlight Mobile Home Park and Villa Cajon Mobile Home Estates, as well as former and current students and staff at Magnolia Elementary School.

If approved, settlement funds totaling $2.5 million would pay for medical consultation benefits for class members, while $2.5 million would pay for sampling, mitigation and remediation of the subsurface plume that allegedly originated from the former Ametek facility.

Anyone who lived at the mobile home parks for one or more calendar years between Jan. 1, 1963 and April 14, 2020, or anyone who owns a mobile home coach at those parks as of April 14, could be eligible.

Additionally, anyone who attended as a student or worked as staff at Magnolia Elementary School for one or more school years between Jan. 1, 1963 and April 14, 2020, could be eligible.

Plaintiffs alleged Ametek dumped various substances, including trichloroethylene — or TCE — into an in-ground tank onsite. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says TCE is a “known carcinogen,” mainly used as a solvent to remove grease from metal parts.

Verified class members will be eligible for one medical consultation, during which a doctor will screen for medical conditions associated with exposure to high concentrations of TCE, which include kidney cancer, liver cancer and hematolymphatic cancer, court documents state.

Current residents of the mobile home parks who qualify could also be eligible for two indoor air samples per year for two years, and installation of mitigation measures if determined necessary by the Department of Toxic Substance Control.

U.S. District Judge Larry Alan Burns preliminarily approved the settlement agreements Wednesday, but an Aug. 24 public hearing is scheduled for final approval should the judge find the terms of the agreement “fair, reasonable and adequate,” court documents state.

Anyone who believes they may qualify for benefits stemming from the settlements may go to CajonCaseSettlement.com to learn how to submit a claim form.

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