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Families Of Those Who Died In Encinitas Bluff Collapse Sue Governments

Photo by Matthew Bowler

Curtis Clave talks about the Encinitas bluff collapse that killed his wife last summer on Aug. 26, 2020.

The families of three women who died in a bluff collapse in Encinitas last summer are pushing for change and suing for compensation.

Julie Davis, her daughter Annie Clave and sister Elizabeth Charles were killed on an Encinitas beach last summer when a 30-foot wide rock slab slid off a coastal bluff and buried them.

Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.

The wounds created that day are still raw for Curtis Clave, who lost his wife Annie in the incident.

“It feels like yesterday, honestly,” Clave said, forcing back tears. “I was forcing myself to write Annie’s eulogy. And I just could not commit because I could not accept the fact that this is actually a life that we are all living as a family.”

Reported by Erik Anderson , Video by Matthew Bowler

Clave is angry that so little has changed in the past year, but he admits fixing the situation is not his first priority.

“I’ve been focusing 100 percent of my time on my kids,” Calve said. “Because they need it. They’ve lost their mom. Due to this horrific, horrific accident.”

Clave and other family members are pushing for the state to adopt legislation that allows communities to do more to manage erosion along coastal bluffs, including building controversial seawalls.

Clave is also part of a lawsuit against the city and state that alleges the governments knew about the risk, but did nothing.

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The families want to people to understand the risk.

“We can’t bring them back,” said Deborah Chang, an attorney representing the victim’s families. “But we can put a spotlight on what happened and we can seek justice and compensation for these tremendous losses that can’t even be quantified at this time.”

The bluffs remain a ticking time bomb, according to Chang, who said another collapse could kill more people who are just trying to enjoy the ocean on the narrow Encinitas Beach.

Encinitas city officials did not return a call asking for comment.


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Photo of Erik Anderson

Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

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