Shaun Zinck Sep. 1, 2015, 2:31pm

Plains Holdings, a large crude oil and liquid energy pipeline operator, is being sued by investors for allegedly failing to comply with federal regulations, which led to a large oil spill in California.

The Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund filed the lawsuit Aug. 14 in United States District Court in California against the company, claiming it concealed several details of the business.

For one, the company is accused of failing to monitor and maintain the oil pipeline, and not adequately responding to spill measures. However, the company represented to investors that the pipeline maintenance was a “primary operational emphasis,” and that several measures had been taken to prevent oil spills.

Specifically, the company told federal regulators that a pipeline, about 10.6 miles long, in Santa Barbara County in California, was closely monitored, according to the suit. However, on May 19 the pipe ruptured and spilled oil along several miles of environmentally sensitive and protected coastline, the lawsuit states. 

“Moreover, contrary the company’s representations to investors and regulators, Plains was wholly unprepared for the spill once it occurred,” according to the lawsuit. 

The plaintiffs are seeking class status for investors who held stock in the company as of Oct. 16, 2013. The plaintiffs are also seeking an unspecified amount in damages plus court costs. 

The plaintiffs are represented by Blair A. Nicholas, Gerald H. Silk and Michael D. Blatchley of Berstein Litowitz Berger & Grossman LLLP in San Diego and New York City, and Robert D. Klausner of Klausner, Kaufman, Jensen & Levinson in Plantation, Florida. 

United States District Court Central District of California case number 2:15-cv-06210

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