California DJ files first federal lawsuit in Southern California oil spill
A California DJ on Monday filed the first lawsuit against the oil company in charge of the pipeline that spilled more than 100,000 gallons of oil off the California coast.
Peter Moses Gutierrez Jr. filed the proposed class action lawsuit against Amplify Energy in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, accusing the company of negligence. The oil spill has shut down miles of beaches in Orange County, potentially for several weeks.
Gutierrez operates a DJ company in Orange County and regularly uses Huntington Beach — which has been most impacted by the spill — for events as part of his business.
“Plaintiff is losing and will lose a substantial amount of his DJ business as a result of the Defendants’ oil spill for the foreseeable future due to the necessary closure of Huntington Beach due to the Defendants’ collective conduct with respect to the oil spill,” the suit states.
Apart from the damage to his business, Gutierrez is claiming damage to his health due to being exposed to “toxins” as a result of the spill.
“The corporations that run oil rigs and pipelines assume the risk of oil spills when they undertake the responsibility required to run those entities,” the suit stated. “When that responsibility is breached by the defendants, as here, the consequences can be catastrophic.”
The lawsuit is accusing Amplify of negligence; allowing for the release of “a hazardous substance”; creating a private nuisance or a trespass; and exposing people to materials “proven hazardous to health.”
The suit is being lead by Milberg, a U.S. law firm that specializes in class action lawsuits. The firm claims to have recovered over $50 billion for it clients since being founded in 1965.
The Hill has reached out to Amplify for comment.
The cause of the oil spill has yet to be determined, though Amplify executives and Orange County officials said earlier this week that they were looking into the possibility that a ship’s anchor might have damaged the pipeline.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) declared a state of emergency in Orange County earlier this week, saying, “The state is moving to cut red tape and mobilize all available resources to protect public health and the environment.”