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.


On October 17, 2022, Interim Class Counsel filed a motion for approval of a settlement class on behalf of a Commercial Fisher class, Property Class and Waterfront Tourism Class totaling $50,000,000 to be paid by Defendants Amplify Energy Corp. Beta Operating Company, LLC and San Pedro Bay Pipeline Company. If approved by the federal court, the Fisher Class will receive $34,000,000, the Property Class will receive $9,000,000 and the Waterfront Tourism Class will receive $7,000,000. Additionally, the settlement includes substantial injunctive relief to improve the detection and reporting requirements of any future oil spills from the Defendant’s undersea pipeline. Further, if the settlement is approved by the court, the case will proceed against the ship owners, whose anchors are alleged to have dragged across and damaged the pipeline causing the oil spill. Alexander Robertson, IV is counsel of record for both Commercial Fisher and Waterfront Tourism Class Representatives. A copy of the settlement agreement is available here:


On February 9, 2023 an additional settlement payment of $45 million was announced to be paid by the shipping companies which own two cargo ships, MV Beijing and MSC Danit, to the Commercial Fisher Class, Tourism Class and Property Class, bringing the total settlement to $95 million. The lawsuit alleged that the two cargo ships dragged their anchors across the pipeline, causing it to rupture. The Court still must give final approval of this second settlement, which is expected to happen in the Spring of 2023.

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.