The Slippery Slope of Litigating Geologic Hazards
California's Portuguese Bend Landslide
Department of Geography/Geology
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
This case, based on a lawsuit brought against the County of Los Angeles by homeowners suing over damage to their homes in the wake of the Portuguese Bend Landslide, teaches students principles of landslide movement while illustrating the difficulties involved with litigation resulting from natural hazards. Students first read a fictitious newspaper article (based on the actual events), then receive details about the geologic setting and landslide characteristics. With this information, the students are then asked to evaluate the possible causes of the disaster. The case was developed for use in a non-majors’ introductory course in environmental geology.
- To utilize active, small-group learning within a science course.
- To introduce the idea that “real world” problems can have more than one possible answer.
- To teach some principles of landslide movement through use of an actual case history.
- To illustrate the difficulties involved with litigation resulting from natural hazards.
KeywordsLandslide; natural disasters; hazard mitigation; Portuguese Bend; Long Beach; California; Palos Verdes Peninsula; West Coast; litigation
Topical AreasLegal issues
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division
Type / MethodsDiscussion
Subject HeadingsGeology | Natural Hazards | Earth Science |
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