The Santa Monica Unified School District’s Attempt to Show that Caulk Testing for PCBs is inconsistent with EPA’s Policy, Judgment or Expertise is Without Merit

Although the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District repeatedly state that the EPA does not “require” or “recommend” analysis of bulk samples when air and wipe sampling do not indicate PCB levels above EPA’s guidelines, not even Defendants contend that EPA policy precludes or prevents such testing.

See America Unites for Kids & PEER’s:

Motion to test the caulk containing PCBs at Malibu High School and Jaun Cabrillo Elementary Schools:

document-96

Declaration of Jennifer Denicola with supporting emails from the US EPA Region 9:

document-97

See America Unites For Kids & PEER’s Reply in Support of Motion:

document-101

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/document-101.pdf

The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District does not dispute that caulk testing, not air and wipe sampling, is the only way to determine whether or not there are violations of TSCA.

11018627_759360884173273_4288019578608387474_nAmerica Unites for Kids states the following:

“EPA says the only way to know if caulk has PCBs is to test the caulk! So testing the air will not reveal what PCBs are in the caulking, and that is precisely what the SMMUSD is doing: They are intentionally refusing to test the caulking. Yet we all know that the caulking has extreme levels of PCBs that are harming the health of our children and teachers.”

In addition, the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District have failed to address Plaintiffs’ showing that the EPA contemplated further caulk testing on the Malibu Campus, irrespective of whether air and wipe test results exceeded EPA’s guidelines.

Thus, for example, Defendants are not able to explain how further caulk testing would be inconsistent with EPA policy when the EPA itself stated on April 17, 2015 that “nothing in the [October 2014] approval limits the District’s ability to perform additional caulk sampling or removal provided the [removal] work is consistent with TSCA regulations at 40 C.F.R. §761.62(a) or (b).” (DeNicola Decl. Ex. A) The EPA’s email does not state, and the EPA has never stated, that additional caulk sampling could be performed only if air and wipe test results exceed EPA’s guidelines. Nor can Defendants explain how caulk testing by Plaintiffs in discovery would he inconsistent with any EPA policy or guidance, when EPA itself has stated that the District must remove caulk found to contain above 50 ppm PCBs in tests conducted by independent parties. (DeNicola Decl. Ex. B)

Nor have Defendants attempted to explain why they themselves did further caulk testing in March 2015, if caulk testing was inconsistent with or precluded by EPA policy. Defendants likewise do not address their own admission that removal of caulk above 50 ppm is required even where air and dust testing show results below EPA’s guidelines. (Dkt. 34 at p. 20, Sec. VI.2.b-d) Defendants simply shift their positions when it suits them.

EPA has been aware of the PCBs at the Malibu Campus for nearly two years now, but has chosen not to take enforcement action, but instead to act only in an advisory role. Thus, EPA has determined not to preclude this citizen suit and take this matter out of the Court’s hands. TSCA permits EPA to do so even now with this litigation pending, with only a provision that Plaintiffs could then intervene in EPA’s enforcement proceeding.

Since EPA has not done so, EPA does not have primary jurisdiction here and the citizen suit provision of TSCA mandates that the Court enforce TSCA without regard to any EPA views of the matter.

“SMMUSD’s continued refusal to test the caulking in all classrooms is really an admission of guilt,” America Unites For Kids President Jennifer DeNicola said. “District officials know that testing will reveal high levels of PCBs, requiring removal. But most importantly, PCBs are a clear and dangerous threat to human health. By deliberately avoiding this testing, the district is willfully endangering children and teachers.”

UPDATE ON CURRENT HEALTH ISSUES WITH STUDENTS AND TEACHERS AT MALIBU SCHOOLS
 
  • 6 teachers with thyroid cancer;
  • 4 alumni  (28-year-old)with thyroid cancer;
  • 1 current student with thyroid disease, possible thyroid cancer
  • 25 teachers with thyroid disease (including 14 of 30 Malibu Middle School teachers);
  • 10 alumni in their 20s with thyroid disease;
  • 1 alumni (22-year-old) with environmentally induced melanoma;
  • 2 current teachers with environmentally induced melanoma;
  • 1 teacher hospitalized from an environmentally-induced rash;
  • 1 current student with an environmentally-induced rash lasting several months
  • innumerable cases of headaches; persistent rashes; daily migraines; infertility issues; hair loss; immune issues; respiratory issues; and diabetes.
See America Unites for Kids October 29, 2015 letter to Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District’s Superintendent Sandra Lyon concerning new PCB test results showing widespread PCB contamination at Malibu High School:

See Congressman Ted Lieu’s letter to Jennifer DeNicola regarding Malibu High School’s latest PCB Test Results being sent to EPA’s Administrator Gina McCarthy:

10_29_15_Letter_from_Congressman_Lieu_to_America_Unites

See New PCB Test Results from Malibu High School:

See news articles concerning the SMMUSD Pressing Vandalism and Trespassing Charges Against the Parent who Proved that the Malibu Schools are Contaminated with Toxic Cancer Causing PCBs:

http://westsidetoday.com/2015/11/05/santa-monica-malibu-unified-school-district-want-sheriffs-to-investigate-parent-activists/#comment-123815

http://www.wnd.com/2015/11/mom-who-tested-classroom-for-carcinogens-to-be-charged/

http://fusion.net/story/227803/malibu-schools-pcb-thyroid-cancer/

http://laist.com/2015/11/05/malibu_pcb_case.php

In a bizarre twist, public school officials have filed a police report against a Malibu parent who allegedly took samples of window caulking from school buildings to test for toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), according to documents released by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) is also actively looking for teachers and other community members who may be involved, even as two elected board members have condemned the effort. (see attached emails from Board members Craig Foster and Oscar de la Torre)

See School Board Member emails here:

11_4_15_SMMUSD_board_members_protest

For two years Malibu Middle and High School and Juan Cabrillo Elementary School have been in an uproar as more than 30 Malibu teachers and alumni have come forward with serious health issues known to be related to PCB exposure.

There is a statistically significant “relationship” between spending your days at Malibu High School and Thyroid Cancer

For details, go to: https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2015/06/24/there-is-a-statistically-significant-relationship-between-spending-your-days-at-mhs-and-thyroid-cancer/

The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District appears to be more interested in attempting to limit their exposure to liability from a toxic tort complaint, rather than to just simply comply with the TSCA, and protect its students and teachers from this continuing harm.

PCBs Affect a Whole Building, Not Just a Single Window

If PCB-laden caulking over 50ppm has been found in one classroom, then it is probable that PCB-laden caulk is in all classrooms in that building. It would be absurd to propose removal of only the tested window (which is what the district has proposed) when adjacent windows used the same caulking that contain high levels of PCBs.

12029766_766201816822513_7554779534588348547_o

See link to America Unites for Kids and PEER’s First Amended Complaint against the SMMUSD: document-52

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/document-52.pdf

The person or persons responsible for the alleged violations are Sandra Lyon and Jan Maez, officials of the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District; Oscar de la Torre, Joe Escarce, Maria Leon-Vazquez, Laurie Liebermann, Ralph Mechur, Nimish Patel, Craig Foster, and Richard Tavildaran-Jesswein, current members of the SMMUSD Board of Education.

Other SMMUSD Litigation, and Errors in Judgment:

There are many other troubling issues with the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District.

1. Student v Wendy Wax Gellis & Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District:

This lawsuit alleges that the SMMUSD and Wendy Wax Gellis are criminally liable for violations of California Penal Code § 11166 and 11172(a) et seq. for filing a knowingly false child abuse report with child services and the police.

Santa Monica Dispatch Article Concerning Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Retaliatory Acts Against Students and Parents by Filing False Claims of Child Abuse with the Department of Children & Family Services.

See link to News Article here: http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2009/01/smmusd-vs-student/

The lawsuit alleges that an example of retaliatory action by the SMMUSD and Wendy Wax Gellis taken against this family includes knowingly and maliciously filing a false child rape and domestic violence allegation with the local law enforcement and with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in retaliation for parent’s exercise of their federally protected right to bring claims against the SMMUSD before the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

The family alleges that on December 18, 2013, SMMUSD employee named Wendy Wax Gellis made a knowingly false referral to the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), and to local law enforcement that parent raped her own son. The allegations were determined by all investigating agencies to be unfounded.

For details of this pending Federal lawsuit go to:

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/santa-monica-dispatch-article-concerning-smmusds-retaliatory-acts-against-students-and-parents-by-filing-false-claims-of-child-abuse-with-the-department-of-children-family-services/

2. Student v SMMUSD:

9th Circuit Court of Appeals Case No. 13-55665 & District Court No. 2:12-cv-03059-SVWPJW

For details of this SMMUSD litigation, go to:

The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Did Not Act “Reasonably” When It Chose To Conduct An IEP Meeting Without the Parents’ Presence

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/student-vs-santa-monica-malibu-unified-school-district-re-the-santa-monica-malibu-unified-school-district-did-not-act-reasonably-when-it-chose-to-conduct-an-iep-meeting-without-pa/

*Legal Fees in the amount of $215,000 were approved by the SMMUSD’s Board of Education on June 29, 2015.

See link to the June 29, 2015 Board of Education Minutes: Re: Attorney’s Fee Settlement in the amount of $215,000

http://www.smmusd.org/brd1415/min062915_spmtg.pdf

3. Other Superintendent Sandra Lyon’s Errors in Judgment:

“SANTA MONICA TEACHER WAS RIGHT, SUPERINTENDENT WAS VERY, VERY WRONG”

April 07, 2014|By Robin Abcarian (LA Times Reporter)

http://articles.latimes.com/2014/apr/07/local/la-me-ra-santa-monica-teacher-was-right-20140407

http://patch.com/california/santamonica/fire-sandra-lyons

https://www.change.org/p/sandra-lyon-and-smmusd-school-board-an-apology-from-superintendent-sandra-lyon-to-mark-black-for-throwing-him-and-all-teachers-under-the-bus-as-well-as-for-making-a-biased-inflammatory-response-to-mark-s-heroic-classroom-actions

4. Severe Bullying at Malibu High School and Superintendent Sandra Lyon’s Ratification of the Conduct:

http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2014/02/victim-becomes-villain-in-malibu-controversy/

For details of this pending litigation, go to:

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/severe-bullying-at-malibu-high-school-the-smmusds-ratification-of-the-conduct/

IMAG0391Student vs. Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) et al

LOS ANGELES SUPERIOR COURT COMPLAINT

SPECIAL INTERROGATORY NO. 13:

LIST THE FULL NAME AND JOB TITLE OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS AT SMMUSD (AND/OR MALIBU HIGH SCHOOL) RESPONSIBLE AMENDING/REVERSING CANCELING AND OR OTHERWISE MODIFYING THE DISCIPLINARY SUSPENSION OF DEFENDANT SEBASTIAN SARTORIUS ISSUED IN OR AROUND NOVEMBER 2012.

RESPONSE TO SPECIAL INTERROGATORY NO. 13:

SANDRA LYON, SUPERINTENDENT OF THE SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT.

5. PCBS REMOVED FROM SANTA MONICA SCHOOLS BUT LEFT IN MALIBU SCHOOLS

Superintendent Sandra Lyon cares more about protecting landfills than protecting children and teachers.

http://www.peer.org/news/news-releases/pcbs-removed-from-santa-monica-schools-but-left-in-malibu.html

6. AMERICA UNITES FOR KIDS & PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY vs.

SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT for the CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA (Western Division – Los Angeles)

CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 2:15-cv-02124-PA-AJW

See link to America Unites for Kids & PEER’s Complaint against the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/document-52.pdf

Shame on you and the district for continuing to attempt to bamboozle the parents and spending our hard earned tax dollars on lawyers and PR and outrageous and ineffective testing.

7.  THE SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS FAILED ITS AFRICAN AMERICAN, HISPANIC, DISABLED & ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS AT MALIBU HIGH SCHOOL, SANTA MONICA HIGH SCHOOL & JOHN MUIR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2015/09/13/the-santa-monia-malibu-unified-school-districts-caaspp-results-has-failed-its-african-american-hispanic-economically-disadvantaged-students-at-santa-monica-high-school-john-muir-element/

8. There is a statistically significant “relationship” between spending your days at Malibu High School and Thyroid Cancer

For details, go to: https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2015/06/24/there-is-a-statistically-significant-relationship-between-spending-your-days-at-mhs-and-thyroid-cancer/

The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District appears to be more interested in attempting to limit their exposure to liability from a toxic tort complaint, rather than to just simply comply with the TSCA, and protect its students and teachers from this continuing harm.

9. The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District is also spending an outrageous amount of money on litigation.

See link and list of just some of the SMMUSD’s expenditures to date:

Purchase-Orders-Approved-at-Board-Meetings2

11200986_700561446719884_1823505260638714771_o

July 15, 2015
Aug 12, 2015

Over $6,500,000 has been spent on lawyers and consultants thus far and still rising!

10. The City of Malibu Unanimously Passes a Resolution to Form an Independent Malibu Unified School District

See link to Resolution here: CC150916_Item-1

11. Superintendent Sandra Lyon ordered the use of Fumitoxins and Strychnine on Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at Malibu High School, Juan Cabrillo and Webster Elementary schools despite hundreds of letters from parents in protest.

Her reckless actions put kids and wildlife at risk.

See link to America Unites For Kids Freedom of Information Act request dated Aug 22, 2015:

Freedom Of Info Act Dec 22-1

See link to Malibu Parent’s letter to Superintendent Sandra Lyon and Published in the Malibu Times on September 4, 2015:

Malibu Parent’s Letter: Protecting Children

http://www.malibutimes.com/opinion/article_fcd1df0e-51c4-11e5-b14c-f35d240585b1.html?mode=story

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Superintendent Sandra Lyon should be fired for not adequately protecting the School District’s students and teachers from this continuing harm.

For details, go to:

ITS TIME TO FIRE SUPERINTENDENT SANDRA LYON

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2015/07/04/it-is-time-to-fire-the-santa-monica-malibu-unified-school-districts-superintendent-sandra-lyon/

Email the Santa Monica Unified School District’s Board of Education: brd@smmusd.org

Advertisements