More than one year after the Kern County (Calif.) Board of Supervisors ordered Community Recycling & Resource Recovery Inc. to shut down after two brothers died at the facility, owners of the composting operation have filed a claim for damages with the county over the board's attempt to close and fine the facility.
The recent action by Lamont, Calif.-based Community Recycling is likely a precursor to a lawsuit, accusing the board for unfairly denying the company a right to operate, the Bakersfield Californian reported.
The board's decision came after 16-year-old Armando Ramirez and his 22-year-old brother Eladio Ramirez were overcome on Oct. 12, 2011, by lethal gases, including hydrogen sulfide, inside a drainage pipe on the company's property.
In papers filed with the county Nov. 14, Community Recycling's lawyers individually named all five supervisors, as well as two county staff members, in a 14-page damages claim that looks and reads like a civil lawsuit, the newspaper said.
The company's filing does not list an amount for damages but said the county's actions were "desperate, arbitrary, capricious, irrational, unreasonable and constituted a prejudicial abuse of discretion."
Community Recycling claims the county fined and ordered its closure based on incorrect information and that the company was denied its right of due process, the newspaper said.
In March, the California-Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA) issued 16 citations totaling $166,890 to Community Recycling.
This past February, Community Recycling avoided being shut down during a court hearing. Kern County Superior Court Judge J. Eric Bradshaw had ruled that Community Recycling can remain open until a full trial occurs.
Community Recycling will have its day in court on Feb. 4.