LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The first federal lawsuit over the Huntington Beach oil spill that has shut down much of the Orange County coastline was filed in Los Angeles federal court.
The proposed class-action lawsuit was brought on behalf of Peter Moses Gutierrez Jr., who owns a DJ company that regularly performs along Huntington Beach, against Houston-based Amplify Energy, and its Beta Offshore division. The lawsuit includes claims for monetary damages, injunctive relief, response costs, and medical monitoring.
Gutierrez claims that he is losing and will continue to lose a substantial amount of his business due to the beach closure and other consequences of the spill. He also claims he has been, or will be, exposed to toxic oil contaminants.
"The impacts on businesses, homeowners and their families are likely to be felt for years," plaintiff's attorney Alex R. Straus said.
The potential oil spill has grown to 144,000 gallons, up from the initial report of 126,000 gallons, and stretches six nautical miles. The disaster has forced the closure of beaches from Huntington Beach to Dana Point, and the Newport Beach harbor. Fourteen boats and 320 people are supporting the clean-up efforts along the coast, and the U.S. Guard said approximately 3,150 gallons of oil has been recovered from the water.
However, lightning in the area forced a stop to clean-up efforts Monday.
Justice Department officials and federal investigators are "investigating to determine if any criminal liability exists as it relates to the oil spill,'' said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
for more features.