Lawsuit Brought by Surf School Owner Alleges Losses Caused by Spill


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SANTA ANA (CNS) - A Huntington Beach surf school has filed the second proposed class-action lawsuit against oil pipeline company Amplify Energy Corp. on behalf of Orange County businesses seeking damages related to the oil spill.

Jaz Kaner, owner of Banzai Surf School, which has operated in the seaside community for more than a dozen years, alleges he will lose tens of thousands of dollars in early October alone due to oil leaked off the Orange County coast, according to the complaint filed late Thursday in Santa Ana federal court.

At a news conference Thursday, the U.S. Coast Guard estimated that roughly 588 barrels of oil had spilled, which would equate to about 24,700 gallons. That's being considered a minimum amount leaked, but officials are not sure how much more could have spilled into the ocean.

The lawsuit claims that Kaner and other local business owners have suffered “business and/or commercial losses by virtue of their proximity to the spill, and the stigma associated with operating so near to the spill. This lawsuit is brought to recover business and/or commercial losses and other damages by owners/operators of local business in close proximity to the spill.''

A message seeking comment from a representative of Amplify Energy was not immediately answered.

The coastal cities of Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Dana Point, and Laguna Beach are known for surfing, sailing, fishing, tourism, and large-scale events such as the Pacific Airshow and the U.S. Open of Surfing, which bring millions of attendees to the beaches each year, according to the suit.

The county on Thursday reopened the beaches under its jurisdiction in Dana Point.

It was not known how long other beaches would remain closed as efforts continued to scoop up tar and oil stemming from the massive spill. This weekend's Huntington Beach Surf Contest has been canceled and Surf City Days, a community event which highlights businesses in downtown Huntington Beach, has been postponed.

While the spill was not reported until 9 a.m. last Saturday, some people reported smelling oil in the water the night before.

On Wednesday, Laguna Beach waterfront property owners sued Amplify Energy in federal court seeking damages for loss of enjoyment, potential lowered property values and diminished rental income. Earlier in the week, Peter Moses Gutierrez Jr., who operates an Orange County party DJ company, filed the first proposed class-action suit against Amplify Energy and subsidiary Beta Offshore, alleging loss of income and possible damage to his health.

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