Blackout Lawsuit Seeks Class Action Status in Federal Court For Millions Affected by SoCal's Electricity Outage
San Diego, in the dark.
Two plaintiffs are suing Arizona Public Service Company, it's corporate parent, and San Diego Gas & Electric over the Great Blackout of 2011. The suit seeks class-action status, which means that anyone else in the same situation could, if approved by the court, join in all the fun (and cash, if rewarded).
The two, a resident and a food company owner, claim damages from having to throw out food that was on its way to becoming spoiled as a result of the lack of electricity that affected 5 million or so Southern California residents from Ensenada, Mexico to Yuma, Arizona to South Orange County.
The suit, sent to the Weekly today, was filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego.
Filed Monday, the legal filing seeks compensation for the tossed food plus punitive damages, but a dollar amount was not assigned to the claims.
The plaintiffs are resident Antonio Busalaachi and food company entrepreneur Anis Ben Hadj Yahia, who says he had to throw out source items for the hummus he sells to Costco and other retailers under the brand Baba Foods.
The filing claims he tossed at least $15,000 worth of food.
As a result of being out of power for more than four hours, plaintiffs, and others similarly situated, had to discard all perishable foods in their refrigerator.
[Added]: The filing notes APS' claim that a single worker appeared to have set off the massive, 12-hour outage and says:
Defendant's employee was grossly negligent when he/she carried out the procedure that caused the power outage, in that he failed to take required steps to ensure that the procedure would not cause a power outage.
The National University System Institute for Policy Research estimated the blackout cost Southern Californians and their employers up to $118 million, including spoiled food losses (up to $18 million), overtime for employees (up to $20 million) and productivity losses (up to $70 million).
The lawsuit alleges "negligence," "nuisance," and "unlawful, unfair and deceptive business practices" on the part of the defendants.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.