SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A United States district court judge has now certified a class action lawsuit filed against Plains All American Pipeline.
The suit was filed by Santa Barbara County property owners who have easement contracts with Plains and whose property was impacted by the 2015 Refugio oil spill.
The lead trial counsel is Barry Cappello of Cappello & Noël.
The predecessor company of Plains All American built pipelines on 130 miles of private property to transport crude oil.
Property owners signed easement contracts allowing the pipelines to be built.
The easement contracts say that the Plains All American would maintain and repair the pipeline as needed, but the lawsuit alleges that the oil company failed to do so.
"Property owners relied on Plains to maintain the old pipelines, but Plains didn't. Plains let them deteriorate and break. Now Plains is asserting that the old easement gives them the right -- for up to two years -- to rip up miles of vineyards, ranchlands, farms, pristine coastal private property to install a new pipeline system next to the old pipeline, without adequate compensation," said Cappello in a press release.
The class action lawsuit will determine if the company will be prevented from using the old easements for its new easement across the properties.
"If Plains is prevented, it can get its new pipeline but it will have to pay for it," said Cappello.