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South Bay Digest

Rolling Hills : Settlement in Slide Case

December 11, 1986

A tentative $1.5-million settlement has been reached between the city and owners of property damaged or threatened by the Flying Triangle landslide, according to the attorney representing the city.

Negotiations are continuing between the property owners and Los Angeles County.

Trial of the complex case, scheduled to begin this week in Torrance Superior Court, was put off until Jan. 5 by Judge Frank Baffa. Judge George R. Perkovich, who has been supervising settlement talks, will be asked to approve the Rolling Hills agreement Wednesday.

More than 40 Rolling Hills property owners are seeking $31 million in damages from agencies and firms they contend are responsible for the slide--which has destroyed five homes and undermined others--because they permitted homes to be built or allowed water drainage into canyons. Defendants argue that heavy rainfall saturated the ground and reactivated slides that have existed since prehistoric times.

Attorney Harry L. Gershon said the Rolling Hills settlement, which will be paid by city insurance carriers, involves all plaintiffs in the lawsuit, as well as owners of eight additional properties who have sued the city.

Besides Rolling Hills and the county, four other defendants remain, including the Rolling Hills Community Assn., which maintains common facilities in the city.

Baffa earlier predicted that the trial could last six to nine months, becoming the longest in Torrance court history. But he said a settlement with the city and county could cut the time by half or two-thirds.

Gershon called the settlement "fair" and one that saves the city the estimated $500,000 that a long trial would have cost.

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