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Judge Tosses Beverly Hills Cancer Claims

November 23, 2006

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A judge has thrown out 12 lawsuits claiming an oil well that operated for decades at Beverly Hills High School caused cancer in former students.

Superior Court Judge Wendell Mortimer Jr. rejected the suits Wednesday.

The case began in 2003 when the law firm that employs celebrity legal crusader Erin Brockovich located hundreds of people who believed emissions from the well were responsible for their cancers or other illnesses.

The city and the Beverly Hills Unified School District spent more than $1 million to determine the area was safe.

The well produces about 500 barrels of oil and 300,000 cubic feet of natural gas a day, said Michael G. Edwards, a vice president of owner Venoco Inc.

Allen Stewart, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said they would appeal.

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