bluff collapse

Family of Women Killed in Bluff Collapse Announces Lawsuit Against Encinitas, State

Family members are also championing for State Bill 1090, which would maintain or build retaining walls or shoreline protective devices, and take other measures to prevent future collapses

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The family of the three women who were killed in an Encinitas bluff collapse last year announced Wednesday that they had filed a lawsuit against the city, state and two neighborhood associations.

Last August, pediatric dentist Pat Davis was spending time with his family at Grandview Beach, in Leucadia, when in just a matter of seconds, a cliff above collapsed and killed his wife, Julie; youngest daughter, Annie; and sister-in-law Elizabeth. The family had been celebrating Elizabeth’s victory against breast cancer.

The wrongful-death lawsuits claim negligence by the properties on top of the bluff that led to further erosion. They also allege negligence in how Encinitas and California responded to signs of dangerous erosion but allegedly did nothing to stop it.

“They’re dangerous bluffs, and the city and the state are just not doing anything to warn people," Davis told NBC 7 on Wednesday. "They’re not doing anything, and they haven’t made any changes since the death of my wife and daughter and sister-in-law. We’re just a little appalled by that and feel like there needs to be some action taken.”

The family's attorney, Deborah Chang, said they will be fighting on two fronts -- in court and in the legislature.

Since the tragedy occurred, the Davis family has been pushing state and local leaders to adopt a measure that could help prevent bluff collapses. The family has championed State Bill 1090, which would add to efforts into stabilizing coastal bluffs. The bill would obligate public agencies and private owners to mitigate coastal erosion, require the coastal commission to approve erosion-mitigated efforts and repair, maintain or build retaining walls or shoreline protective devices to prevent future collapses.

Loved ones of the women who were killed gathered Wednesday at a news conference to urge politicians to approve the measure, which is currently sitting in the Senate.

Davis said he hopes their complaint will get people’s attention since he feels there was a lack of changes after what happened.

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