SANTA BARBARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Attorney Advertising. Keller Rohrback L.L.P. and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, which represented those affected by the Exxon Valdez oil spill, today filed a class action lawsuit against Plains All American Pipeline (NYSE:PAA) stemming from the Refugio State Beach oil spill in Santa Barbara.
The class action complaint alleges the Texas-based company negligently operated the pipeline, Line 901, causing a rupture that discharged over 100,000 gallons of crude oil onto beaches and into the Pacific Ocean, damaging ecologically and economically significant natural resources. The complaint claims violations of state and federal laws.
“In Santa Barbara, those environmental impacts translate to profound economic impacts. In the short term, the oil from Plains All American’s ruptured pipeline has closed fishing grounds and shellfish areas, and caused canceled reservations from tourists who otherwise would be spending their money on hotels, restaurants, kayaking or surf trips, and fishing charters,” the complaint says.
The complaint was filed on behalf of Stace Cheverez, a sea urchin diver and nearshore fisherman. Plains All American’s oil spill has led to the closure of areas where Cheverez customarily fishes for commercially valuable nearshore species like Grass Rockfish.
“Santa Barbara values and relies on clean beaches and clean oceans,” said Matthew Preusch, an attorney in Keller Rohrback’s Santa Barbara office. “This spill threatens that.”
“The purpose of this lawsuit is to repair the damage done to local fisherman and businesses, and to hold Plains accountable for all the harm it has wrought on the Santa Barbara community,” said Robert Nelson, a partner in LCHB’s San Francisco office.
Plains All American Pipeline is no stranger to oil spills. The company has accumulated 175 safety and maintenance infractions since 2006. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration shows Plains’ rate of incidents per mile of pipe is more than three times the national average.
“In short, Defendant has an ugly tradition of operating pipelines that fail. The communities through which it transports oil suffer the consequences,” the complaint alleges.
The spill, which triggered California Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency, may have extreme effects on both the environment and economy. Two beaches have been closed and nearby hotels have been fielding calls from concerned visitors who planned on visiting Santa Barbara, one of Southern California’s top tourist destinations, over Memorial Day weekend.
A copy of the complaint is available at krcomplexlit.com.
Keller Rohrback represented fishermen, landowners, and businesses located in Prince William Sound in their action against Exxon to recover damages caused by the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. A federal jury awarded a $5 billion judgment in favor of Keller Rohrback clients. Additional claims against the pipeline owner were settled for $98 million.
Keller Rohrback has also handled environmental litigation involving home heating oil, contaminated drinking water, contaminated sediments, landfill leachate, metal smelting and finishing wastes, tank farms, chemical plants, gas stations, and major manufacturing concerns.
Keller Rohrback, with offices in Seattle, Phoenix, New York, and Santa Barbara, serves as lead and co-lead counsel in class actions throughout the country. The firm’s Complex Litigation Group is proud to offer its expertise to clients nationwide, and our trial lawyers have obtained judgments and settlements on behalf of clients in excess of seven billion dollars.
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP is a sixty-plus attorney law firm with offices in San Francisco, New York and Nashville. It is among the largest law firms in the United States that only represent plaintiffs. Since its founding in 1972, Lieff Cabraser has litigated and resolved hundreds of class action lawsuits and thousands of individual cases.
Attorney Advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.