IN THE NEWS | CONTACT US

If you or your business has been impacted by this devastating spill, please contact us.


THE SPILL

An oil pipeline rupture off the coast of Southern California has caused approximately 25,000 gallons of oil to spew into the Pacific Ocean, coating local wildlife habitats, shutting down miles of beaches, and posing a significant human health risk. The October 2nd breach occurred about five miles off Huntington Beach in Orange County and stemmed from a pipeline leak from a facility offshore operated by Beta Offshore, a subsidiary of Houston-based Amplify Energy Corp.

After the rupture and leak, oil reached land as water desecration spread. Huntington Beach has been the hardest hit area, with oil fouling some marshes and wetlands. Oil reached as far as San Diego County. The chemicals that will likely be used to clean the oil pollution will compound the threat to the environment. Miles of beaches and coastal areas were closed for two months, leaving business owners and residents to confront an economic and ecological disaster.

Health officials have warned people not to swim, surf, or exercise by the beach because of potential health hazards. People have also been urged not to fish in the area since the waters are considered toxic. California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Orange County to assist with cleanup efforts. The California Department of Justice is investigating the spill.


CALIFORNIA-STATE-CAPITAL

CASE FILED

The Joseph Saveri Law Firm filed a class action lawsuit on October 11, 2021, in federal court in California against defendants Amplify Energy Corporation (Amplify); Beta Operating Company, LLC (Beta Offshore); San Pedro Bay Pipeline Company (SPB); and other corporations, on behalf of individuals and businesses whose livelihoods and quality of living have been and will be impacted by the October 2nd pipeline leak and oil spill.

Plaintiff operates a bait and tackle business in Costa Mesa, California, and derives over 90% of its revenue from tackle and fishing gear used for saltwater fishing in the Pacific Ocean. It outfits many of the sport fishing boats that operate out of Orange County, a significant sport fishing industry. These boats and other customers of plaintiff depend upon access to clean ocean water and now can no longer fish in this polluted, closed area.

Plaintiff’s economic setback is a direct, legal, and foreseeable consequence of the alleged wrongful acts and/or omissions of defendants. Amplify owns Beta Offshore, which operates the 17-mile pipeline, owned by SBP, that ruptured on October 2. Oversight led to the rupture, and defendants’ delay in reporting it to the National Response Center—in violation of spill-response guidelines— increased the spill’s broader environmental impact and the reduced quality of life of those relying on the coast for their livelihood.

Defendants have a continuing record of violations and non-compliance regarding oil extraction and distribution activities. Also, according to reports, well over 50 vessels were waiting to berth in San Pedro Bay following the spill. This backlog resulted in larger ships anchoring closer to pipelines, internet cables, and other hazards due to a lack of space. Preliminary reports indicate the rupture may have been caused by a passing ship’s anchor that hooked the pipeline, causing a partial tear. Despite knowledge of this situation and the reasonable chance of such an occurrence during port congestion, defendants failed to reasonably inspect the affected pipeline. Defendants were aware that the ports were beset by long backups. Yet, they failed to implement proper procedures to protect against the increased risk of damage to the pipeline or to remedy the unstable pipeline adequately and reasonably through effective regular inspections.

“The Orange County oil spill is an environmental and economic tragedy that is devastating to many individuals and businesses who rely on the area’s beautiful coastline for their livelihood and recreational activities. Defendants have a long history of violations and non-compliance with industry standards, and their inexcusable delay in reporting and handling the October 2nd spill has made a dire situation much worse. They must be held accountable. We are grateful for the opportunity to help Ketcham and a proposed class obtain economic and injunctive relief during this disastrous time for Orange County coastal residents,” said Steven Williams of the Joseph Saveri Law Firm.

Plaintiffs seek class certification and a favorable judgment against defendants jointly and severally for economic damages, punitive and/or exemplary damages, creation of a fund to environmentally and economically monitor the marine habitat in the affected area, and other relief the court or a jury may find necessary.

This widespread predicament can and is affecting many, including:

  • Commercial fishers and seafood processors.
  • Property owners with private easement to beach access or direct access to surrounding waterways.
  • Local businesses who derive significant revenue directly from ocean and surrounding waterways.

If you or your business has been impacted by this devastating spill, we are here to help. Please contact our firm by completing the form below if the above or a similar situation applies to you, or if you would like to learn more about our investigation.

Any information you provide to us will be kept strictly confidential as provided by law.


SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE