Criminal Conviction of Plains All American Pipeline For 2015 Santa Barbara Oil Spill Should Help Plaintiffs in Related Civil Cases

Criminal Conviction of Plains All American Pipeline For 2015 Santa Barbara Oil Spill

Thousands of Fishermen, Oil Workers and Property Owners Follow Criminal Suit with Civil Action for Losses Relating to Refugio State Beach Oil Spill

Texas-based Plains All American Pipeline has been found guilty of criminal charges relating to the 2015 oil spill at Santa Barbara’s Refugio State Beach. That verdict is very likely to help class action plaintiffs in the related civil suits stemming from the spill. “We think it is critically important that the criminal jury has determined beyond reasonable doubt that Plains knowingly engaged in or caused the discharge or spill of oil into the waters of the state,” notes Lieff Cabraser attorney and co-lead plaintiffs’ counsel Robert J. Nelson. “Our view is that the verdict has a preclusive impact on our case,” added Nelson. “We hope to take advantage of many aspects of this criminal trial, not just the verdicts. We’ll see what happens when we make that motion to our court.” [Read more…]

Judge Certifies Class of Property Owners in Case Against Plains All American Over 2015 Santa Barbara Oil Spill

Oil spill on beach

In litigation arising out of a massive 2015 oil spill off the California coast, U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez has certified a class of property owners and real property lessees who are suing Plains All American for harm from additive-filled toxic oil that oozed into coastal beaches after an underground rupture spewed crude oil onto land and water near Refugio State Beach. At least 140,000 gallons of oil were released in the spill, leading to civil lawsuits as well as criminal charges against Plains. [Read more…]

Babies Born and Raised Near Toxic Coal Plants Show Higher Health Risks

Babies Born and Raised Near Toxic Coal Plants Show Higher Health Risks

A recent study indicate that babies born near active coal plants display shorter telomeres — sections of DNA that act as caps at the end of chromosomes — resulting in measurably higher health risks. As reported by Environmental Health News, “the study is the first to show toxics from coal burning may spur shorter telomeres in newborns and adds to a massive body of evidence that closing down plants gives babies a greater chance at a healthy life. Shorter telomeres are linked with a host of health problems, including cancer, heart disease, brain decline, aging and premature death.” [Read more…]

California Utilities Commission Rules That Customers Will Not Pay Uninsured Costs of 2007 San Diego Fires

Northern California Wine Country Fires

The California Public Utilities Commission has unanimously ruled that the San Diego Gas & Electric Company and not its customers will have to pay $379+ million in uninsured costs relating to the 2007 fires in Witch, Guejito, and Rice that killed two people and destroyed over 1,300 homes. As reported by the Ventura County Star, “Investigators found SDG&E failed to properly maintain its equipment and trim tree branches and chaparral growing near power lines, which arced and sparked as those infernos began.” San Diego Gas and its insurers did pay over $2 billion for filed claims, but the utility had sought to get its customers to pay for all remaining costs via rate hikes and other charges. [Read more…]

Lieff Cabraser Files Class Action Lawsuit Against PG&E Over 2017 North Bay Fires

Northern California Wine Country Fires

San Francisco–Lieff Cabraser announces that Sky Vineyards, Skyla Olds, Nancy Hitchcock and Herman Bossano, Rebecca Bailey and Charles Holmes, and Transitioning Families have filed a class action lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court against Pacific Gas & Electric Corporation (“PG&E”) and related parties for personal and business losses from the 2017 Northern California wildfires (the “North Bay Fires”) that occurred as a result of PG&E’s failure to properly and safely maintain its electrical infrastructure throughout the North Bay region. [Read more…]

On Behalf of Class Counsel, Lieff Cabraser Announces that Commercial Fishers And Fish Sellers Affected By The 2015 Refugio State Beach Oil Spill In California Are Part Of Class Action Lawsuit

Notice has been issued to Fishers and Fish processing businesses confirming that their claims are now part of a class action that has been certified by the United States District Court. Information has been mailed to each identified class member and additional information is available on-line, through various trade associations, and various publications. [Read more…]

Federal Judge Certifies Subclass in Santa Barbara Plains Oil Spill Lawsuit

As reported by Law360, Judge Philip S. Gutierrez of the United States District Court for the Central District of California has issued an order certifying a subclass of fishers, fish buyers, and other affected businesses in litigation against Plains All American Pipeline LP relating to the 2015 Refugio State Beach oil spill in Santa Barbara. The spill occurred in May of 2015 when a 10-mile-long, 24-inch-wide oil pipeline ruptured and discharged over 100,000 gallons of crude oil onto beaches and into the Pacific Ocean, contaminating several State Marine Conservation Areas and forcing the closure of beaches, fishing grounds, and shellfish operations. [Read more…]

Elizabeth Cabraser Named a 2017 Energy and Environmental Law Trailblazer by National Law Journal

Elizabeth Cabraser Named a 2017 Energy and Environmental Law Trailblazer by National Law Journal

The National Law Journal has named Lieff Cabraser founding partner Elizabeth Cabraser a 2017 Energy and Environmental Law Trailblazer. Editor Richard Caruso notes that each of the 2017 award recipients “has shown a deep passion and perserverance in the pursuit of their mission, having achieved remarkable success along the way.” [Read more…]

Hazardous Chemicals Found in Wells on Whidbey Island, WA, Residents Warned of Contaminated Water

Hazardous Chemicals Found in Wells on Whidbey Island, Residents Warned of Contaminated Water

A potentially hazardous and toxic chemical has been discovered in groundwater wells within and around the Navy airfield on Whidbey Island, Washington, contaminating the area water supply and raising serious health concerns. Residents have been warned of cancer and other risks from drinking the water coming from these now-polluted wells. [Read more…]

California Court Denies Defendant SoCalGas’ Bid to Strike Class Claims & Business Loss Complaint in Porter Ranch Gas Leak Cases

Natural Gas Processing Plant

On May 8, 2017, Judge John Wiley, Jr. of the Los Angeles Superior Court issued an Order in the Southern California Gas Leak Cases, JCCP 4861 and related cases, denying all three of SoCalGas’ motions. SoCalGas moved to strike the class claims of businesses and property owners over the liability of Southern California Gas relating to the massive gas leak near Porter Ranch that started in October 2015. SoCalGas also asked the Court to throw out the Business Class Action Complaint on the basis that purely economic losses are not recoverable for this kind of case. [Read more…]