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Lawsuits & Litigation

Laguna Beach Homeowners File Lawsuit Over Orange County Oil Spill

— October 8, 2021

Amplify Energy Corp. is under fire in a new lawsuit regarding the recent Orange County oil spill.

Property owners along the Laguna Beach waterfront are suing the company that “owns the oil rig and underwater pipeline at the center of a massive leak off the coast of Huntington Beach.” At the moment, the plaintiffs are seeking damages for “loss of enjoyment, potential lowered property values, and diminished rental income,” according to the suit

Image of Orange County Courthouse
Orange County Courthouse; image courtesy of Ebyabe via Wikimedia commons,

For those who don’t know, a pipeline owned by Amplify Energy Corp. was ruptured earlier this month. According to Stephen and Kristin Samuelian, along with SK5-Keller Legacy LLC, the incident could have been totally avoided “if the company had adequately maintained the line and acted quickly when the spill began.” The suit, which was filed in Los Angeles federal court, further states:

“The Orange County Coast is a special place with blue water, iconic piers, famous surf breaks, and beautiful beaches…Much of the economic life in this region revolves around the coastal areas and beaches. Thousands of people in Orange County depend on the ocean and beaches for work and play. Beachfront property owners enjoy direct access to blue waters and magnificent coastline, and residents walk the beaches, fish from the shores, swim, surf, kayak, and use and enjoy their properties.”

The plaintiffs allege, “Now contamination by defendants’ oil spill has undermined the health of the environment, and the coastal beachfront real property.” It’s worth noting that the Samuelians “own an oceanfront home in Laguna Beach and are investors in a nearby rental property.”

What led to the pipeline rupture, though? Well, according to the lawsuit, the exact timeline of events is not known and is being investigated. However, “it appears that defendants did not promptly act to respond to signs of the pipeline’s failure or notify relevant government agencies,” attorneys representing the Samuelians claim. How so?

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s Office of Pipeline Safety, the company “received a pressure-drop alarm at 2:30 a.m., but the pipeline carrying crude oil was not shut down until about 6 a.m. Saturday.”

The plaintiffs added that the “alleged delay and inadequate response runs contrary to defendants’ oil spill response plan.” It further states:

“Despite the efforts of volunteers and professional responders, the spill affected numerous marine protected areas as well as beaches from Huntington Beach and south…As the oil spread, so did its terrible consequences. Fish, birds, and marine mammals died after being covered in oil or exposed to the oil’s toxic compounds. Tar balls and oil sheen from defendants’ oil spill fouled beaches far to the south of Huntington Beach.”

The complaint also alleges that Amplify Energy failed to properly maintain the pipeline, which in turn left it “susceptible to corrosion and rupture.” The attorneys stated, “Regular maintenance of pipelines is a crucial step that owners of pipelines must take in order to avoid exactly the disaster that occurred with the pipeline.”


Orange County oil spill: Laguna Beach property owners filing lawsuit

Oil spill: Laguna Beach homeowners sue Amplify Energy Corp.

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