Plains Involved in Another Legal Battle

Hundreds File Class Action Suit Against Oil Company

Refugio Oil Spill
Paul Wellman (file)

Another day, another lawsuit for Plains All American Pipeline. This time, a few hundred landowners whose properties were damaged by the Refugio Oil Spill filed a class action lawsuit against the company.

The owners are claiming “the easement for pipeline installation, repair, [and] replacement, was not large enough to handle the machinery, workers, and staging area needed to accomplish the restoration work,” according to attorney Barry Cappello, a managing partner at Cappello & Noël, the law firm representing them.

He went on to say that this same easement is used for hundreds of miles along the coast, all of which needs to be dug up and fixed. The pipelines were installed with the agreement that Plains would properly maintain them. Most of the customers are from Grey Fox, a real estate company in Santa Barbara. The land is used for ranching, housing, and growing — specifically vineyards.

The owners seek damages from Plains for the ruptured pipelines, as well as for carrying “unauthorized toxins” through the pipes included in the spill. In this case, unauthorized toxins means anything other than the approved petroleum products.

The case, Grey Fox vs. Plains, is one more in a string of suits filed against the oil company that have ranged from worker lawsuits to security fraud, all relating to the oil spill last year.


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