Santa Barbara News-Press: Fisher class certified in Plains All American lawsuit

A judge certified one of four groups in a federal class-action lawsuit stemming from the Plains All American oil spill in 2015.

U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez last week certified the “fisher and fish industry” subclass, but denied certification for the property owner, oil industry and tourism industry subclasses.

In ruling that “fishers and those that purchased fish from the commercial (fishermen) who worked in designated areas of the Santa Barbara coastline” are cohesive to merit proceeding as a group, the judge found “common questions predominate over uncommon questions.

“Plaintiffs should take note, however, that although the geographic boundaries of the subclass as now defined appear to reasonably reflect the potential zone of the oil spill, the court will not hesitate, as this case progresses, to winnow the class to only those (fishermen) that worked in the areas affected by the spill.”

Judge Gutierrez denied the defendants’ motion to strike plaintiffs’ experts declarations and denied plaintiffs’ motion to strike defendants’ experts.

Lead counsel for the certified subclass are Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein LLP; Keller Rohrback LLP; Cappello & Noël; and Audet & Partners.

— Scott Steepleton, March 7, 2017

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