The City of Santa Barbara has retained the services of nationally known environmental litigator Scott Summy on a contingency basis in case the city files a lawsuit against Plains All American Pipeline for potential economic damages suffered as a result of the May 19 Refugio Oil Spill.
The Dallas-based Summy was one of the lead litigators that sued BP on behalf of multiple jurisdictions impacted by the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. The City of San Jose recently retained him to sue Monsanto over PXCB contamination, and in the 1990s Summy secured more than $400 million in settlements with various gasoline companies because of MTBE contamination.
City Attorney Ariel Calonne said City Hall had invested millions over time in advertising campaigns extolling the virtues of Santa Barbara as a tourist destination and that extensive news coverage of the spill had to have some effect. What exactly that effect has been, he said, has yet to be determined. No before-and-after comparative analysis of hotel bed tax revenues has been conducted. Should City Hall file a suit against Plains, Calonne said his office would play an active role as co-counsel.