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Utility Company Sues Over Fatal California Mudslides

A California utility facing a slew of lawsuits over a deadly Southern California wildfire is now suing Santa Barbara County and the state's transportation department, saying they neglected to prepare for deadly mudslides that followed the blaze.

Posted: Jan. 21, 2019 12:30 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A California utility facing a slew of lawsuits over a deadly Southern California wildfire is now suing Santa Barbara County and the state's transportation department, saying they neglected to prepare for deadly mudslides that followed the blaze.

Southern California Edison filed a lawsuit Friday against the county and Caltrans over mudslides that killed 23 people and destroyed hundreds of homes in the community of Montecito last year.

The utility says public officials "knew such an event would inevitably occur" and failed to minimize the risk in advance. Edison says county and transportation officials allowed development in hazard-prone areas and built inadequate debris basins, flood channels and other infrastructure.

Santa Barbara County attorney Michael Ghizzoni declined to comment on the lawsuit while Caltrans media representatives didn't return a call seeking comment.

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