Environmental Concerns - Written by Beasley Allen on Wednesday, June 2, 2010 16:06 - 28 Comments

Hundreds File Suit in California Over Housing Project Site Contamination

More than 400 people, former residents of the county-owned Ujima Village housing complex in Willowbrook, California, and their survivors, have sued Los Angeles County, the site’s developers, and a former property owner, Exxon-Mobil, contending that they were exposed to toxins while evidence of hazards was concealed. In a civil , filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the Plaintiffs allege that contamination at the 300-unit complex built on a former oil tank storage site caused cancer, leukemia, miscarriages, respiratory distress, chronic infections, asthma, anemia and cognitive and neurological issues. They are seeking damages to compensate for back rent, injuries, medical costs and for the wrongful deaths of at least 38 former residents.

officials said in a statement that they were first informed of “potential concerns with soil conditions” at Ujima in 2007 and have since been working with the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board and other state and local agencies to conduct an extensive environmental investigation. The Ujima families contend their clients were kept in the dark about the hazards. The Plaintiffs say they didn’t know that the County was renting them contaminated properties. They contended that actual testing that showed hazardous topsoil and vapors coming from the soil were was withheld.

Ujima Village was built in 1972 by a group of architects and developers. In Swahili ujima means “collective work and responsibility.” After decades of mismanagement and dilapidation, the complex was taken over in 1990 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Los Angeles County purchased it five years later for only one dollar. With $20 million in renovations needed by 2004, the County tried to sell the property. Developers discovered gas and crude oil contamination and by 2008 the California Regional Water Quality Control Board ordered the County Housing Authority and Exxon to test and clean up the site. In November 2008, Los Angeles County supervisors voted to close the complex and relocate remaining tenants.

Source: New York Times


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Dec 30, 2010 11:50

I use to live there where do I go to put me and my daugher name on the class action suit against Ujima Village

Vivieca Smith
Feb 17, 2011 21:12

I lived in the ujima village from august 97-aug03. I would like information on how to get on the lawsuit.

Rena Stephenson
Mar 15, 2011 20:06

my daughter went to school at Ujima Village two years ago do I have any claims to this lawsuit. She is now eighteen would I file a guardian ad litem ?

Sep 28, 2011 16:11

I lived in Ujima Village from October 1992 thru June 2007 with my two sons.I would like information on how to get claims to this lawsuit. i just found out about the lawsuit and printed the information. One of my sons has a disablity since 2002(End Stage Renal Disease) he was only 21 at the time.

Please let me know if Myself and sons could be part of this lawsuit.

tonia pierce
Nov 8, 2011 0:21

I lived in ujima village from 1974 to 1976 and I want to know how to take part in this lawsuit

angelia snowden
Nov 12, 2011 19:42

i leaved in ujima villeage in 1980 and i have asthma now and my son was borned with a respertorey problem when he was born and i was leaving in ujima at the time where do i file a law suite at

Nov 16, 2011 19:56

I worked at Ujima Village for 3 years, 1995 to 1998. Should I be concerned for my health? And possibly my son who was an infant and stayed across the street in day care? Please contact me and let me know what I should do. Thanks!

Calvin Brumfield
Nov 17, 2011 11:57

I Calvin Brumfield Lived at the south side of Ujima Village’ were they are testing in front of my place of resident 12802 S. Keene ave. Los Angeles, California 90059-3439 concerning the same toxite condition of Exxon crude or gas storage tank hazard that was reported of effecting the east side of Ujima Village and the south side were i presently live. I use to run in the park around there and visited often there, live at the residence prievously stated sense 1983 to this present day. I had gotten sick mysteriouly back in 1991 and was hospitalized for seven days. i had bad respitory Problems swollen or excess fliud on the brain, that made me past out, and a greator amount of white blood cells than red blood cells and had a spinal tap to determ the cause of the illness, they said i was exposed to some kind of toxin that could have cause this condition. Now reading this report this was most likely the cause.i would like to apply for the class action lawsuit as well. my phone# 323-718-5035. my mailing address is above.

Janice Davis
Nov 30, 2011 1:54

my name is Janice Davis and i woild like to join andfile a class action lawsuit my family and i lived in in ujima village how do i go about fileing lawsuit for me andmy family 323-974-1592 can anyone give me the imfomation on how to file and what to do are join theclass acting lawsuit.

Sharon K. Evans
Dec 10, 2011 18:36

I lived in Ujima Village for 2 years with my Mother Minnie Evans who died from pancreatic cancer in 2005. My son fished an d played at the park all of the time. He has too many ailments to name right know. My son is dying and has been given 2 years at the most to live. I have autoimmune hepatitas. My doctors ask me several times “had I lived near a chemical plant. I do believe my son and I have now have basis for a lawsuit.

My phone number is 313-283-8914 Please ask someone to call my I want to participate in the lawsuit.


Sharon K. Evans

Donald Morrow
Dec 18, 2011 9:26

I use to lived in Ujima Village. Where do I go to put my name on the class action lawsuit.

Donald Morrow

Laleica McCaleb
Dec 26, 2011 22:30

I used to live in Ujima Village for 13yrs and I have trouble carring my kids and i would like to join this lawsuite. How would i go by getting the infomation on the suite? my number is 213-479-2729

Diane williams
Dec 28, 2011 13:44

My name Diane and I lived in Ujima Village from 1975-1983. While living there I became mysteriously ill, having exploratory surgery to determine what it was. Diagnosed with crohns disease in 1976. This illness caused me to miss an entire year of school which put me behind. I suffered with this disease for 2 years until the decision was made to have part of intestines removed. Since then my mother has died from septic shock. I heard that the lawsuit was closed but if you reopen it please contact me.

Cheryl Greer-Davis
Apr 14, 2012 7:33

My name is Cheryl Greer-Davis and I lived in Ujima Village when they first open their doors. My lungs collapsed in 1974, because of the toxins that were consumed in the drinking water and what the apartment complex was build on. I was only 20 years old, and I never drank nor smoked. I was in great health. I exercised, and kept a balanced diet. I am planning on getting my medical records from the two hospitals. I was hospitalized from Monday until Saturday. They had to drain my lungs. The entire right lung and a portion of the left lung. Please contact me and let me know how to proceed with joining the lawsuit.

Deceria Whitmore
Aug 27, 2012 13:42

I live in Ujima villiage for a few years moving out in 2005. We had lots of plumbing and water problems. My daughter now 15 years old suffers with Asthma and many other ailments. Myself and always sick. please let me know how I can become part of the lawsuit. 323-540-7285

maurice robinson
Aug 30, 2012 10:25

I lived in ujima village and worked on the grounds there for 7 years.So now I’ve lost relatives to cancer that lived there too, and I myself am sick. How can I get in on this lawsuit? Please reply at email address.

Sep 19, 2012 15:19


Nov 30, 2012 19:14

hi my name is jasmine my grandmother and i lived in ujima village she lived there for 10+ years and she did have cancer if some one would please contact us our number is 626-964-1515 email is playjazz7@aol.com

chiquita golden-baldwin
Jan 17, 2013 13:45

me and family lived in ujima villiage from1980-1985 this place is part of my life today when i speak of my accomplishments and telling my childhood stories ‘this is where i grew up’ skating going to the dances at the childcare center,skating to the mailbox running to the icecream truck ,jumpin off the balcony with my friends or just playing in the circles with my friends my dad has died of cancer my mom is constantly coughing in her sleep 4 years etc. we all are sick are we too part off this laawsuit. i have much to say about this devastating tragic story to just to remminise onmy home town, villiage to just to see if it comes up on a website and when the frist thing i see is the building with a fenced gate around it i read on oh my GOD what the what was my words i was so sad to know that what has happen to my place and the things thats been going on OH MY GOD all i can think of is my dad and mom are we part of this lawsuit are we part of this lawsuit

chiquita golden-baldwin
Jan 22, 2013 11:52

do you respond to our comments and questions if so call me @1850-4780515,pensacola fl.

Natesh Crockett
May 24, 2013 19:43

My family and I lived in Ujima Village in the 80′s. My mother is now deceased. I need to know if my family and I qualify to join in on this class action lawsuit. We lived on the northeast side in the back. Our apartment was up in flames and my sisters and I were there home alone. The guy that saved us died saving us. We have lots of memories there. If anyone has any information on this situation, please email me the information, nateshcrockett@yahoo.com. Thanks!

Tranecia williams
Jun 11, 2013 2:26

Myself and my family resided in Ujima Village from 1983-1988, my geandmother didn’t live there but came would come over daily to babysit my sister and I . In 1990 my grandmother was diganosed with leukimia, my family was trying to figure out where did it come frome, because there was no history of of cancer in the family and still isn’t. Please email me with information .. Thanks

my name is john butler
Aug 17, 2013 19:07

I worked as maint man back in 1990-94 how do I sighn up I also have medical problems #.225-803-8390

Leisa jackson
Aug 23, 2013 17:35

Ujima village me and my daughter live there for 10years I would like information on the lawsuit 3102420061.

Rose Bryant
Sep 7, 2013 19:20

My boys and I resided on the Wadsworth side of Ujima Village, for four years. We all suffer with asthma and breathing problems. I never knew where the problem came from, because noone in my extended family has these problems. I was diagnosed with numerous problems to the extent that I am now totally disabled for six years now. Please give us a call at (616) 427-3835. My name is Rosemary Bryant.

daurene sykes
Oct 3, 2013 17:14

I live in ujima colleges for thirteen years, first in 13m for five years then in 8g for eight years

Cheryl Todd
Oct 16, 2013 15:19

I lived in Ujima Village starting 1979-81 and would like to file a claim. How and were do I do that for possible exposure during that time? Thank you. (951) 526-2711

chiquita golden-baldwin
Feb 20, 2014 21:36

I haven’t got no response from no one on this matter please some one help me I have no one to ask any question don’t have a lawyer yet help

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