Property Owners reach $70M Class Action Settlement with Plains All American Pipeline for 2015 Refugio Oil Spill

2015 Refugio Oil Spill (file photo)

U.S. District Court Judge Philip Gutierrez has granted preliminary approval for a $70 million class action settlement to be paid to property owners affected by the 2015 oil spill caused by the Plains All American Pipeline.

This settlement aims to resolve all outstanding class claims related to the spill that occurred along the Santa Barbara coastline, impacting private properties, Refugio State Beach, and the Pacific Ocean.

Representing the property owners in this case are Cappello & Noël LLP, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, and Keller Rohrback LLP. The class properties involved in the settlement total 183, with each property owner set to receive a minimum of $50,000, and an average payout of $230,000.

The incident traces back to 1991 when the Celeron Pipeline Company of California, predecessor to Plains All American Pipeline, constructed pipelines across 130 miles of private property to transport crude oil and other liquids from the California coast to inland refinery markets. Easement contracts were signed by property owners, allowing for the construction of the Lines 901 and 903 pipelines, with agreements that the pipeline owners would maintain, operate, and repair the pipelines as needed.

Following the oil spill on May 19, 2015, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration determined that the rupture was due to integrity management failures by Plains.

In the settlement terms, Sable Offshore Corp., the current owner of the pipeline, has agreed not to replace the ruptured pipeline with a new system without renewing easement agreements. Additionally, Sable commits to operating the pipeline safely under a Federal Consent Decree that mandates compliance with federal regulations for maintenance and operation, including the installation of automatic shutoff valves.

Affected class members will receive notice of the settlement via direct mail, and a dedicated settlement website and toll-free number will be established to provide further information.

A fairness hearing is scheduled for September 13, 2024, where final approval of the settlement will be determined. Class members have a 15-day window before the hearing to submit responses regarding the settlement approval.

This settlement represents a significant step toward providing compensation and ensuring the safe operation of the pipeline, offering relief to property owners impacted by the environmental disaster along the Santa Barbara coast in 2015.

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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  1. Cool, maybe the homeowners who don’t need the extra cash could help with Santa Barbara school districts short funds so teachers , special education and counselors dont get fired. Or f it. Buy a new rivian to look cool. Either way that spill was shite.

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