PORTER RANCH, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Porter Ranch family filed a lawsuit against the Southern California Gas Company claiming the massive gas leak contributed to the death of an elderly woman.
The family of Zelda Rothman, 79, hired lawyer Scott Glovsky within days after her death. Rothman said even though the elderly woman had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer, she had a lot more life to live.
But her family claims the months-long gas leak near Porter Ranch, which is where she lived, caused her to die much sooner than expected.
"Before the gas leak, even though she had been diagnosed with cancer, she went on cruises with her friends, she was getting lunch, driving, leading a full life," he said. "Then after the gas leak she went downhill very quickly and she required oxygen 24 hours a day."
Family members said by the time they tried to relocate Rothman out of the area, it was far too late. They said she had symptoms similar to what other residents complained about, but was too weak to overcome them.
The family's wrongful death lawsuit against SoCal Gas in part claims: "The gas, and carcinogens within the gas, also weakened Ms. Rothman and caused intense headaches and migraines, among other symptoms. In this weakened state, Ms. Rothman's health further deteriorated and ultimately hastened and led to her death."
"My mother is probably the first - amongst what will probably over time be many people - who are casualties of this man-made natural disaster," her son Michael Rothman said.
SoCal Gas issued a statement in response to the lawsuit: "We are sorry to hear about the family's loss. We are reviewing the lawsuit and will allow the judicial process to take its course."
Glovsky said he is still working on what types of damage the family will seek.