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Guzman v. Monterey, County of

ELR Citation: 39 ELR 20138
Nos. No. S157793, (Cal., 06/22/2009) Rev'd

The Supreme Court of California reversed a lower court decision holding that residents of a mobile home park may file suit against the county for failing to direct the park owner to notify the residents about contaminated drinking water. The residents claim that since at least 1995, the drinking water at the camp was contaminated with high levels of naturally occurring fluoride, but that residents were not told of the contamination until 2003. The lower court incorrectly ruled that the county had an implied mandatory duty to direct the owner to give such notification to residents. Although the county oversees the water systems within its jurisdiction, it does not have the primary responsibility to notify consumers of any contaminated water. This duty rests squarely with the operator of the water system. On remand, however, the lower court must determine whether the county has any express mandatory duties that are actionable under state law.

[A prior decision in this litigation can be found at 37 ELR 20249.]