(Updates with complaint excerpt in second paragraph.)
By Laurel Brubaker Calkins
March 25 (Bloomberg) –- Kirby Inland Marine LP and
Cleopatra Shipping Agency Ltd. were sued by commercial and sport
fishermen claiming damages from a March 22 oil spill caused by a
collision of the companies’ vessels in the Houston Ship Channel.
The proposed class-action suit was filed yesterday in
federal court by Houston-area commercial fishermen, charter-boat
operators and bait shops on behalf of “hundreds or thousands of
individuals and businesses” facing economic losses and property
damage because of the spill, according to the complaint.
The fishing interests seek to sue as a class, or group, to
ensure the boat owners “pay for the economic and environmental
costs of their misconduct and that there is a fair distribution
of compensatory and punitive damages” among victims and for the
“benefit of society and the environment,” their lawyer Sean
O’Rourke of Houston-based Simon-O’Rourke Law Firm PC, said in
If required to sue individually, the spill victims say,
they will be forced “to compete in a race for judgments in
order to claim against a diminishing resource, resulting in
recoveries for some victims and worthless judgments for the
rest,” according to the complaint.
About 168,000 gallons of oil leaked into Galveston Bay from
a barge owned by the Kirby Corp. unit, after it collided with a
bulk cargo ship owned by Cleopatra Shipping of Greece, according
to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The spill closed the entrance to one of the nation’s
busiest ports and refinery complexes, restricted fishing in
Galveston Bay and threatened bird sanctuaries at the start of
the spring migration and nesting season.
The case is 3G Fishing Charters LLC v. Kirby Inland Marine
LP, 3:14-cv-00107, U.S. District Court, Southern District of
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To contact the reporter on this story:
Laurel Brubaker Calkins in Houston
at +1-713-466-4964 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Michael Hytha at +1-415-617-7137 or
Charles Carter, Mary Romano