Litigation

Cal. Litig. 2020, Volume 33, Number 2

Stringfellow Acid Pits: The Toxic and Legal Legacy By Brian Craig

Reviewed by Dan Lawton

Dan Lawton is a member of California Litigation’s editorial board. He is senior counsel with Klinedinst PC, where he practices litigation in the firm’s appellate and professional liability groups.

My three brothers and I grew up in Fullerton, in northern Orange County, during the 1970’s. Our parents felt no anxiety about letting us walk or ride bikes to school by ourselves. Our play in the streets and vacant lots was mostly unsupervised. During the summer, the main rule was to return home by the time the streetlights came on. Around the fields where we played Little League baseball, oil pumpjacks dotted the hills. The sign posted on the fence aside the gravel parking lot declared the park’s name: Union Oil Field. To us, it, like the rest of California, seemed a kind of paradise.

As a teenager, I read an article in the local newspaper about Fullerton residents who had moved into a new housing development north of us, off of Rosecrans Avenue. The new homeowners smelled foul odors. Mysterious liquids oozed from the ground. Some people had gotten sick.

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