LOS ANGELES -- Attorneys representing a Kern County African American family who had their home demolished by a wind farm developer announced that they filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on May 7, 2015.
The lawsuit alleges EDP Renewables, Horizon Wind Energy Company, Rising Tree Wind Farm and other developers and contractors of a huge Kern County wind energy farm illegally attempted to force the Dotson family to sell their home and land. When the Dotson's refused the developers demolished their family home.
Plaintiff's attorney Morgan Stewart called the case "an outrageous example of bullying and intimidation by a major corporation. These defendants used strong-armed tactics to try to attempt the forced sale of the Dotson family home and land. When the family refused to sell, the defendants intentionally entered their property, demolished their home, including all belongings inside and tried to disguise their illegal conduct as an accident. They thereafter continued to pressure Mrs. Dotson to sell her property even after they demolished the home and disposed of all the family belongings inside."
The Dotson Family Home sat on one of the original parcels of land obtained and developed by African American homesteaders during the early 20th century. Mrs. Dotson and her family, who are African American, take great pride in the historical significance that the Home and the underlying property represent and had intended to keep the Home in their family for this reason.
The Dotson Family Home was used by Mrs. Dotson and her children to stage various family gatherings and reunions over the years and was also used for annual family vacations, seasonal hunting trips, family celebrations, barbeques, and birthdays. Plaintiffs David Dotson and Daniel Dotson, as well as Mrs. Dotson's other children, spent a significant amount of their childhood playing in and around the home and, in recent years, both men had begun taking their own children to the home so that they may enjoy it in much the same way that David and Daniel had as children. As a result of the numerous fond memories involving the home over the last years and the historical significance it represented, the home was hallowed ground to Mrs. Dotson and her family.
Within the home, the Dotson Family kept numerous family photographs including photographs of Mrs. Dotson, her children, her grandchildren, and various other family members, both living and deceased. Many of these photographs were originals, copies of which do not exist. With respect to several of Mrs. Dotson's deceased family members, the photographs which had been in the home were the only photographs Mrs. Dotson had to remember them by. The home also contained several unique antiques which Mrs. Dotson intended to pass on to her children as family heirlooms as well as numerous other items of personal property that the Dotson Family cherished and held dear.
In phone calls and voicemail messages the wind farm developers admitted that they were responsible for demolishing the home and its contents but claimed it was not intentional. The Dotson family believes it was one more attempt to force them to sell their property. Their lawsuit alleges seven causes of action including a violation of the Bane Civil Rights Act.
The Defendants sought to acquire the rights to all of the properties in the proposed development area, yet it was only the Dotson Family- the only African-American family within the proposed development area- that were subjected to the type of threats, coercion, and intimidation tactics which included the destruction of their home.
The lawsuit asks for just compensation for the destruction of the Dotson's property and punitive damages against the defendants.
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