2021 Huntington Beach Oil Spill

“Powerhouse plaintiffs’ firms Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein and Robertson & Associates LLP teamed up to file the class action on behalf of a proposed class of commercial fisheries, marine charters and property owners.” — California Daily Journal, October 13, 2021

On Saturday October 2nd, 2021, a failure occurred in a pipeline running from the Port of Long Beach to an offshore oil platform known as Elly, owned by Amplify Energy and operated by Beta Operating Company. The failure caused what is now estimated to be 144,000 gallons of oil to gush into the Catalina Channel, creating a slick that spans over 8,000 acres. The spill has left oil along long stretches of beach in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach, killing fish and birds and threatening ecologically sensitive wetlands in what officials are calling an environmental disaster. Commercial fishing off this part of the coast is now closed, severely affecting fishers and fish processors throughout the region. Homeowners with beachfront properties or easements are also impacted, as are city beaches.

Experts say the oil will likely continue to encroach on Orange County beaches and they may be closed for months. Officials have indicated they are seeing evidence of oil on numerous beaches, and also noted that the affected area could increase depending on ocean currents. Authorities are continuing to investigate the cause of the spill and say the timeline for cleaning up the area’s beaches remains unclear.

Fighting for You

On October 11, 2021, Robertson & Associates and co-counsel filed a federal class action lawsuit in the Central District of California on behalf of fishers, local property owners, and others against Amplify Energy Corporation and related co-defendants over the October 2021 pipeline break and oil spill off Huntington Beach, California.

The complaint states numerous liability claims, and seeks all recoverable compensatory, statutory, and other damages, including remediation costs, as well as injunctive relief.

Proven Environmental Disaster Lawyers

Alex Robertson, IV obtained one of the few published RCRA decisions in the country involving vapor intrusion of PCE vapors into several hundred homes in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mr. Robertson represented homeowners who brought a lawsuit in federal court under the citizen suit provision of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. § 6972(a)(1)(B), which permits private citizens to seek injunctive relief against any person “who has contributed or is contributing to the past or present handling, storage, treatment, transportation or disposal of any solid or hazardous waste which may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment.” In Voggenthaler v. Maryland Square, LLC, U.S.D.C. Case No. 2:08-cv-1618-RCJ, the plaintiffs alleged that a contaminated groundwater plume, which resulted from use of the once-common chemical perchloroethylene (PCE) at a former dry cleaning facility migrated offsite and beneath their nearby homes. The plaintiffs filed suit against the former owners of the dry cleaners and the owners of the shopping mall property on which the dry cleaners was located, and the defendants filed claims against a number of third-party defendants. Mr. Robertson won summary judgment and attorney’s fees against the shopping mall owners and obtained a permanent injunction forcing the defendants to clean up the contamination. Mr. Robertson also served as Class Counsel for several hundred homeowners in a state court class action lawsuit, which resulted in a substantial monetary settlement and installation of vapor recovery systems in the homes of the class members.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the plaintiff’s judgment against the shopping mall owners in Voggenthaler v. Maryland Square, 724 F.3d 1050, C.A. 9 (2013). Below is one of the plume maps which outlines the migration of the contamination through the shallow groundwater from the site of the former dry cleaners below the residential neighborhood to the east.