A class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of individuals affected by the Refugio State Beach oil spill in Santa Barbara. The suit was filed against Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. and Plains Pipeline, L.P. on behalf of fishers, fish buyers and other businesses affected by the spill. According to the lawsuit, the oil companies acted negligently in operating the Line 901 pipeline; this allegedly caused the 10-mile-long, 24-inch-wide pipeline to burst and spill 100,000 gallons of crude oil.
As a result of the spill, several State Marine Conservation Areas were contaminated and beaches, fishing grounds and shellfish operations were closed. The lawsuit alleges that this has had a substantial economic impact in Santa Barbara. Because of the spill, the complaint alleges, many tourists canceled their reservations from hotels, restaurants, kayaking, fishing charters and other attractions.
The plaintiffs include a couple who mostly trawl for sea cucumbers as their main source of income. Unfortunately, the area that has been contaminated by the spill is the primary area where they fish for sea cucumbers. Another plaintiff owns a “boat to table” business that purchases and delivers fresh dish to customers. Because of the spill, the plaintiff was unable to make any deliveries and lost revenue of over $6,500.
The lawsuit is also representing a man who makes income by owning several ATMs at state parks and beaches in area affected by the spill. His business came to stop when the oil spill occurred. Another plaintiff is a high school history teacher who supplements his salary by commercial fishing during the summer months. The spill occurred at precisely the time that he would have gone fishing. The suit also represented a fish buyer who purchases seas cucumbers from several different fishing boats on a daily basis. The spill has reduced the number of sea cucumbers for him to purchase, and his customers have already begun to question the quality of his sea cucumbers.