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Monday, May 3, 2010

Federal Judge Skeptical About S.F. Fishermen's Oil Spill Lawsuit

Posted By on Mon, May 3, 2010 at 2:59 PM

click to enlarge Next year's catch?
  • Next year's catch?
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston has expressed some misgivings about the strength of a class-action lawsuit against the owners and operators of the Dubai Star, a Panamanian tanker that leaked up to 800 gallons of fuel into San Francisco Bay last October.

In a written decision issued Friday at the federal court in San Francisco, Illston ordered the plaintiffs -- three commercial fishermen and a seafood processor -- to clarify their claims that the comparatively small spill did damage to their livelihoods. Illston stated that the lawsuit's "claims are less than clear" and that "plaintiff's complaint fails to include sufficient detail to support their claims."

She noted in particular the timing of the lawsuit as a factor the fishermen had to overcome in demonstrating they had suffered a concrete injury: "[P]laintiffs have not sufficiently alleged causation with respect to any harm they had incurred as of the time of bringing suit. ... the Court doubts that plaintiffs will be able to remedy this defect, given that they filed the complaint on the very same day as the spill."

Nevertheless, Illston has given the fishermen and seafood company the chance to file an amended complaint further specifying the damage done to their business from the Dubai Star spill. The new complaint is due by May 21.

Image   |   azrainman

H/T   |   Courthouse News

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Peter Jamison

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