Several company executives and the manager of the Exide battery recycling plant in Vernon were named Monday in two separate lawsuits brought by dozens of residents who allege they and their children were exposed to lead, arsenic and other contaminants.
An Exide representative could not be immediately reached for comment on the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuits filed against James Bloch, Exide’s CEO; Phillip Damaska, the company’s CFO; Ed Mopas, the firm’s environmental manager; John Hogarth, the plant manager; and R. Paul Hirt Jr., Exide’s president.
The allegations include negligence, trespass and absolute liability for ultrahazardous activity.
One lawsuit was filed by adult plaintiffs and the other on behalf of numerous children. In each case, the plaintiffs seek unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Children are particularly susceptible to the effects of lead exposure, according to the suits, which allege the Exide plant is responsible for health problems ranging from kidney dysfunction to cancer and learning disabilities.
In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill requiring the Department of Toxic Substances Control to either issue a permanent permit or permanently shut the plant down by the end of 2015.
The Exide plant has been closed since mid-March while management works to upgrade pollution controls and meet other regulatory requirements.
— City News Service
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