VENTURA, Calif. - A lawsuit currently in the pre-trial stages at the Ventura County courthouse this week claims pesticides caused a Oxnard child’s health issues.
“Erik has what is called a hemifacial microsomia. He was born with a facial cleft. His cheek was open when he was born. His jaw is malformed. It is smaller on one side. He has some damage to his head, some cranial damage, some brain damage and he has some hearing loss as well,” said Attorney David Bricker of Waters Kraus & Paul law firm.
Nine-year old Erik Morales allegedly suffered these health issues because of pesticides he was exposed to while his mother was pregnant with him.
“She was a strawberry picker hired to come in and prune and pick the strawberries and the allegation is during the time she was working in the fields she was exposed to pesticides in a couple of ways. One they were spraying in the fields while she was there and two the pesticides residue on the plants themselves prove very significant risk to these women and unborn children,” said Bricker.
“They illegally sprayed while workers were there and there are requirements for what are called re-entry intervals. Where they are not allowed to let workers back on the field for a certain amount of time and re-entry intervals were not complied with,” said another attorney working on the case, Danielle George of Phillips & Paolicelli.
Four different defendants are named in the suit Well-Pict Berries; Well-Pict Berries Owner, T.T. Miyasaka Inc.; Soilfume Inc., and Ramco Enterprises.
Our calls to the offices of the defendants went unanswered Wednesday afternoon.
The attorney’s representing Morales say they are fronting the costs of litigation and hope the case puts a spotlight on the bigger issue at hand.
“Not only just to make sure this severely injured child gets taken care of, but we feel that it is very important to deter this type of behavior in the future, we feel the civil justice system, has a big roll in deterring negligent behavior and bad actions on behalf of big businesses and corporations,” said George.
Damages of an unspecified amount are being sought for the child’s medical expenses, as well as punitive damages.