Dole Food Co. v. Superior CourtAnnotate this Case
Developer Defendants seek a writ of mandate directing the superior court to vacate its order approving good faith settlements between codefendants Shell and Equilon and plaintiffs, as well as the City. The settlements involved mass tort litigation arising out of an environmental investigation showing that soil beneath a housing tract was contaminated with residual petroleum hydrocarbons. The court concluded that Shell's compliance with the Remedial Action Plan (RAP), which was mandated by the Water Board pursuant to the state’s police powers, was not part of the settlement consideration, and therefore should not be included in the valuation of the good faith settlement. The court concluded that, although the trial court gave some weight to the value of the RAP remediation in approving the good faith settlements, the error was harmless. On the record presented, the $90 million monetary payment, standing alone, was well within the range of Shell’s proportionate liability. The court finally concluded that the determination of good faith settlement did not require an allocation of the $90 million settlement consideration among the 1,491 individual plaintiffs and between their economic and noneconomic damages. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for writ of mandate.