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Chumash Casino and Resort files lawsuit in wake of Montecito mudslide

Posted at 8:23 PM, Feb 05, 2019

Chumash Casino and Resort is taking legal action against an insurance company more than a year after the Montecito mudslide.

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians of the Santa Ynez Reservation filed a lawsuit against Lexington Insurance Company.

The lawsuit says the company acted in bad faith by refusing to pay the casino’s claim for lost business due to the Montecito debris flow. The casino says it lost up to $5.5 million because of highway closures, which meant customers weren’t able to access the area.

23 people were killed in January of 2018 when a heavy storm slammed Montecito, unleashing mud and debris. The area had just been ravaged by the Thomas Fire, which wasn’t fully contained until after the debris flow. More than a half-inch of rain fell in about 15 minutes, and there was nothing to hold back the huge boulders, burned trees, dirt, and water.

A 30-mile stretch of Highway 101 between Santa Barbara and Ventura was shut down because it was covered in mud and debris. It didn’t reopen until January 21.