SEATTLE, July 13, 2022 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — JND Legal Administration — A Settlement has been reached in the class action lawsuit called Andrews et al. v. Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. et al., No. 2:15-cv-04113 (PSG:JEM) (C.D. Cal.).
The lawsuit claims that Plains All American Pipeline L.P. and Plains Pipeline L.P. (“Plains” or “Defendants”) caused an underground pipeline to rupture, resulting in an oil spill along the coast in Santa Barbara County on May 19, 2015. The Settlement is on behalf of members of the Fisher Class and Property Class previously certified by this Court. Plaintiffs for the Fisher Class allege the spill caused long term harm to commercial fishing in the affected class blocks, including significant financial losses. Plaintiffs for the Property Class allege that owners and lessees were unable to use and enjoy their properties as a result of the spill because oil washed up onto their properties and onto beaches adjacent to their properties. Plains denies any claims of wrongdoing and disputes all claims. The Settlement, if approved by the Court, will resolve all remaining claims in the class action litigation pending in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. The Fisher Class Settlement is $184 million, and the Property Class Settlement is $46 million, inclusive of attorneys’ fees and costs.
The Court has not decided whether Plaintiffs or Defendants should win this Litigation. The Settling Parties do not agree on whether Plaintiffs would have prevailed on any of their claims against Plains, or the amount of damages, if any, that would be recoverable if the Class prevailed on the claims alleged. Instead, both sides agreed to the Settlement after years of contested litigation, including at the motion to dismiss, class certification, and summary judgment stages. The Parties had also completed substantial discovery and were preparing for trial to commence on June 2, 2022.
You are a Fisher Class Member if you are a person or business who owned or worked on a vessel that was in operation as of May 19, 2015 and that: (1) landed any commercial seafood in California Department of Fish & Wildlife (“CDFW”) fishing blocks 654, 655, or 656; or (2) landed any commercial seafood, except groundfish or highly migratory species (as defined by the CDFW and the Pacific Fishery Management Council), in CDFW fishing blocks 651-656, 664-670, 678-686, 701-707, 718-726, 739-746, 760-765, or 806-809; from May 19, 2010 to May 19, 2015, inclusive; or if you are a person or business in operation as of May 19, 2015 who purchased such commercial seafood directly from the Commercial Fishers and re-sold it at the retail or wholesale level. You can find out if you are a Fisher Class Member by going to www.PlainsOilSpillSettlement.com.
You are a Property Class Member if you owned or leased residential beachfront property or property with a private easement to a beach where oil from the 2015 Santa Barbara oil spill washed up and the oiling was categorized as heavy, moderate, or light. You can find out if your property is included by going to www.PlainsOilSpillSettlement.com, where a list of properties Plaintiffs claim were impacted is posted.
The Settlement, if approved, will result in the creation of two cash settlement funds of $184,000,000 (the “Fisher Class Settlement Amount”) and $46,000,000 (“the Property Class Settlement Amount”), together with any interest earned thereon, the “Fisher Class Common Fund” and “Property Class Common Fund,” respectively. Each of the common funds less (a) any Taxes and Tax Expenses; (b) any Notice and Administration Expenses; and (c) any attorneys’ fees and costs and any service awards to Class Representatives in connection with their representation of the Class, awarded by the Court (the “Net Settlement Funds”), will be distributed to eligible Class Members pursuant to a proposed plan of distribution (“Plan of Distribution”). If you are entitled to relief under the Settlement, the Settlement Administrator will determine your portion of the Net Settlement Fund payable to you pursuant to the Court-approved Plan of Distribution.
The Court has appointed Lieff Cabraser Heimann Bernstein LLP, Keller Rohrback L.L.P., Cappello & Noel LLP, and Audet & Partners, LLP (“Class Counsel”) to be the attorneys representing the Class. You will not be charged for these lawyers. Class Counsel will apply to the Court for an award of attorneys’ fees in an amount not to exceed 33% of the total Settlement Amount (no more than $60,720,000 from the Fisher Class Settlement Amount and $15,180,000 from the Property Class Settlement Amount). In addition, Class Counsel will apply to the Court for reimbursement of their litigation expenses (in an amount not to exceed $5.2 million from the Fisher Class Settlement Amount and $1.3 million from the Property Class Settlement Amount). If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
If you are a Class Member and you wish to get money from the Settlement, you are required to submit a Claim Form available at www.PlainsOilSpillSettlement.com, or by calling the toll-free number 1‐844-202-9486 to request that a hard copy Claim Form be mailed to you. Your Claim Form and, if necessary, any required supporting documentation as set forth therein must be postmarked (if mailed) or submitted online to the address below on or before October 31, 2022.
If you are a Class Member you may object or tell the Court what you do not like about the Settlement. You will still be bound by the Settlement, and you may still file a claim. Objections must be served/filed no later than August 19, 2022. Go to www.PlainsOilSpillSettlement.com for details on how to object to the Settlement. If you are a Class Member and you did not previously opt out of the Class or enter a separate settlement with Plains for which you signed a full release, you are a member of the Class and you will be bound by the release of claims as part of the Settlement. The Fisher Class was first certified on February 28, 2017, and later amended on November 22, 2019. The Property Class was certified on April 17, 2018. You previously had an opportunity exclude yourself from the Fisher Class and the Property Class. If you did not exclude yourself then, you may not exclude yourself now.
The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing on September 16, 2022, at 1:30 p.m. Pacific, before the Honorable Phillip S. Gutierrez at the United States District Court for the Central District of California, First Street Courthouse, 350 West 1st Street, Courtroom 6A, 6th Floor, Los Angeles, California 90012-4565. At the hearing the Court will determine whether: (1) the Settlement of $184,000,000 for the Fisher Class and $46,000,000 for the Property Class should be approved by the Court as fair, reasonable and adequate; (2) the Judgment as provided under the Settlement Agreement should be entered; (3) to award Class Counsel attorneys’ fees and expenses out of the Fisher and Property Class Common Funds and, if so, in what amount; (4) to award Plaintiffs’ service awards (Class Counsel is requesting $15,000 for each of the 14 Class Representatives) in connection with their representation of the Classes out of the Fisher and Property Class Common Funds and, if so, in what amount; and (5) the Plans of Distribution should be approved by the Court.
For more details and to print the Settlement Agreement, go to www.PlainsOilSpillSettlement.com. You may also write with questions or notify the Settlement Administrator regarding address changes to Plains Oil Spill Settlement c/o JND Legal Administration, P.O. Box 91450, Seattle, WA 98111, email at info@PlainsOilSpillSettlement.com or call the Settlement Administrator at 1‐844-202-9486.
SOURCE JND Legal Administration