Businesses file class action lawsuit after oil spill

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter

TEXAS CITY, Texas - Business owners in Galveston filed a civil lawsuit following the accident that lead to a giant oil spill in the Houston Ship Channel.  The business owners claim the oil spill killed their businesses.   

"It's a big impact on us. Not only on us, but everyone around," said Matt Garner.

Booms float just outside of his business. They are designed to keep the oil away but the customers are staying away as well.

He told Local 2, "The impact, so far, has just been brutal on us. Cause no body's here. No body's coming in. They've shut down the waters. We're not getting the fishermen coming through here. Without the fishermen, we don't have the people to come in and eat." 

Garner operates a fishing charter business, 3-G Bait and Tackle and a waterfront restaurant.  He cancelled five charter trips Monday and more Tuesday.  He does not know when it will all end.

Attorney Sean O'Rourke filed the lawsuit on behalf of Garner and others against Kirby Inland Marine and Cleopatra Shipping. It claimed the oil spill killed businesses.  He said it is too soon to attach a dollar figure to the losses. 

O'Rourke said, "Their livelihoods right now have come to a standstill. They are unable to make any money. Unable to do business as usual. The long-term outlook, we don't know what is going to be the perception of Galveston seafood which is some of the best seafood in the world."

The experts say the oil was ten to twelve miles off coast Tuesday.  They are concerned the weather, on Wednesday, could make the cleanup more difficult. 

People in Galveston want their water clean, again.  Garner said, "We're hoping that we can get back out there and fish. And make the income and support our families."

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