The Settlement was reached after years of contested litigation, including at the motion to dismiss, class certification, and summary judgment stages. The Parties also completed fact and expert discovery and were preparing for trial to commence on June 2, 2022. Nevertheless, a jury has not rendered any verdict in connection with Plaintiffs’ claims against Plains. Instead, Plaintiffs and Plains have agreed to this Settlement to avoid the cost, delay, and uncertainty of further litigation.
As in any litigation, Plaintiffs and the Class would face an uncertain outcome if they did not agree to a Settlement. If Plaintiffs succeeded at trial, Plains would likely file appeals that would postpone final resolution of the case for years. Continuation of the litigation against Plains could result in a judgment greater than this Settlement. Conversely, continuing the case could result in no recovery at all or a recovery that is less than the amount of the Settlement.
Plaintiffs’ principal reason for entering into the Settlement with Plains is the substantial benefit to the Class now, without further risk or the delays inherent in continued litigation. The $184 million Fisher Class Settlement Amount and the $46 million Property Class Settlement Amount must be considered against the significant risk that a smaller recovery—or, indeed, no recovery at all—might be achieved after trial, and likely appeals, a process that could last several years into the future. The Settlement provides a substantial award for Class Members, without protracted delay.
Plaintiffs and Class Counsel believe that this Settlement is fair and reasonable to the Class for several reasons. First, Plaintiffs and Class Counsel believe that $184 million for the Fisher Class and is a significant recovery. Second, if the Settlement becomes final, the Class will receive a certain and prompt monetary recovery. Third, Class Counsel believe that the significant and immediate benefits of the Settlement, when weighed against the significant risk, delay, and uncertainty of continued litigation, are a very favorable result for the Class Members.
Plains has denied and continues to deny the claims alleged by Plaintiffs. Plains admits that oil leaked from Line 901, and that some of that oil reached the Pacific Ocean, but disputes the amount of oiling and the amount of damage that the oiling caused. For Plains, the principal reason for the Settlement is to eliminate the burden, expense, uncertainty and risks inherent in any litigation, especially in complex cases such as this. Plains has determined that it is desirable and beneficial that the lawsuit be settled in the manner and upon the terms and conditions set forth in the Settlement Agreement.
THE COURT HAS NOT RULED AS TO WHETHER PLAINS PIPELINE IS LIABLE TO PLAINTIFFS OR TO THE CLASS. THIS NOTICE IS NOT INTENDED TO BE AN EXPRESSION OF ANY OPINION BY THE COURT WITH RESPECT TO THE TRUTH OF THE ALLEGATIONS IN THE LAWSUIT OR THE MERITS OF THE CLAIMS OR DEFENSES ASSERTED. THIS NOTICE IS SOLELY TO ADVISE YOU OF THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT OF THIS LAWSUIT AS TO PLAINS PIPELINE AND YOUR RIGHTS IN CONNECTION WITH THAT SETTLEMENT.