Our office is currently investigating the 21,000 Gallon Oil Spill off the scenic Santa Barbara coast line. This type of disaster can have devastating impacts on both an ecological and commercial economic level. Much similar to the BP Oil Spill almost a decade ago residents who have a direct economic interest in the hospitality industry can likely pursue a claim for damages due to oil spills. While it is still very premature and many of the important or necessary facts are not available, we are investigating potential claims for further evaluation.
Who can sue
Generally those who were impacted by the incident can sue. It is our opinion that the following categories of businesses and people will have the strongest potential cases.
Business owners who survive off of the tourism and trade of the beaches will likely have a claim for damages. This includes hotel owners, property owners, restaurants’, tour agencies and other businesses.
Property owners will also have a potential claim for damages. Property owners whose land value is diminished as a result of the spill may have a cause of action for such damages. At this time the damages element of this case is being considered. It is likely that any party who suffered harm as a result of this incident can likely to pursue a claim for damages against the pipeline operator.
How did the incident happen
According to preliminary reports a storm drain that empties into the Pacific Ocean broke resulting is the oil spill. First estimated reports indicate that about 21,000 gallons of oil had spilled, however it is not certain whether these numbers reflect the most accurate or up-to-date figures. At this time the amount of information provided by various news agencies does not properly establish the mechanism, which caused the injury. Our investigation is currently pending, upon obtaining more information we will update our blog to reflect such facts.
History of Oil Spills
In 1969 one of the first ecological disasters giving rise to the environmental movement, which we see today. This incident dumped over 3 million gallons of oil across the Santa Barbara cost line causing significant damage to the pristine lay of the land and other residual harm to the wildlife population. In more recent years major oil and gas companies have caused similar oil spills resulting in billions of dollars in damage. Most notably is the BP Oil Spill, which destroyed the wildlife and tourism along the Gulf of Mexico.
Who is liable
At this time liability is not certain. However, it is possible to pursue a claim against the manufacturer of the pipe, any maintenance company charged with the care of the pipe and the company which owns and operates the pipe. Plains All American is the company that owns and operates the pipe. However, it is not yet clear whether they had knowledge of this leak or whether they had any type of instruments or procedures in place to test for such leaks.
FRESH UPDATE: California oil spill: CEO of pipeline company apologizes for damage – The Associated Press/cbc.ca