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Class Action Lawsuit Launched Over Mississippi Oil Spill

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The huge environmental disaster caused by half a million gallons of heavy oil spilled into the Mississippi on Wednesday has sparked a class action lawsuit. The suit, brought by Stephen Marshall Gabarick and Bernard Attridge, both residents of New Orleans, alleges that due to prevailing winds they, and "all the residents of New Orleans who have suffered any damages and/or losses from the 1:30 am Wednesday accident near the Crescent City Connection" have been exposed to toxic gases that have spread from the collision site to the French Quarter and Uptown.

The two plaintiffs also claim that the river and wetlands have suffered serious and likely extensive environmental damage as a result of the spill, which has also forced several communities along the river to close their water intakes to prevent their drinking water supplies from becoming contaminated.

Defendants in the case are American Commercial Lines Inc., the Indiana company that owns the barge; DRD Towing, the Harvey company that owns the tug M/V Mel Oliver, Laurin Maritime, the Houston firm that operates the Liberian-flagged tanker MV Tintomara; that ship's owner, Gibraltar-based Whitefin Shipping Co. Limited; and the New Orleans-Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots Association, one of whose members was in command of the Tintomara at the time of the collision.

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