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Mississippi River Oil Spill Class Action Lawsuit

Jul 28, 2008 Parker Waichman LLP has filed suit on behalf of two New Orleans residents who suffered damages as a result of the Mississippi River oil spill that occurred on July 23, 2008.   The lawsuit, which was filed last Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, seeks class action status to benefit all New Orleans residents and inhabitants impacted by the Mississippi River oil spill.


The Mississippi River oil spill occurred at about 1:30 a.m., when a 600-foot tanker and a barge loaded with fuel collided.  The barge split in half, spilling more than 419,000 gallons of tar-like oil into the river. The barge’s owner, American Commercial Lines, immediately took responsibility for the oil spill. The  barge was being towed by the tugboat the Mel Oliver. Last week, the US Coast Guard determined that no one on the Mel Oliver had the proper licensing for piloting a tugboat.


The Mississippi River oil spill class action lawsuit was filed by New Orleans residents Stephen Marshall Gabarick and Bernard Attridge.   The lawsuit claims that following the oil spill, prevailing winds exposed residents and inhabitants of New Orleans to toxic fumes that were spread from the collision site to the French Quarter and Uptown.  The lawsuit also alleges that heavy oil has caused serious environmental damage to the river, threatened sensitive wetlands, and forced closure of several communities' water intakes to prevent contamination of drinking water supplies.


Because the oil spill has resulted in the closure of an 80-mile stretch of the Mississippi River, the plaintiffs allege that the incident has caused and will continue to cause loss of income to individuals and businesses that are being prevented from using the waterway.


Defendants named by the Mississippi River oil spill class action lawsuit include Laurin Maritime, the Houston firm that operates the Liberian-flagged tanker MV Tintomara; that ship's owner, Gibraltar-based Whitefin Shipping Co. Limited; American Commercial Lines Inc., the Indiana company that owns the barge; DRD Towing, the Harvey company that owns the tugboat Mel Oliver; and the New Orleans-Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots Association, one of whose members was in command of the Tintomara at the time of the collision.


Under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA), individuals and entities impacted by oil spills are entitled to compensation for property loss, loss of income and other damages caused by the incident.  Parties deemed responsible for an oil spill are liable for such losses.


If you or a loved one suffered economic or other damages as a result of the Mississippi River oil spill, you have valuable legal rights.  Please fill out our online form, or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) to discuss your case with a qualified Mississippi River oil spill lawyer.


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