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Gbarabe v. Chevron Corp.

United States District Court for the Northern District of California

August 5, 2016, Decided; August 5, 2016, Filed

Case No. 14-cv-00173-SI

Opinion

ORDER GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL, DENYING PLAINTIFF'S ADMINISTRATIVE MOTIONS TO FILE UNDER SEAL AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SANCTIONS

Re: Dkt. Nos. 138, 139, 144, 148

Defendant's motion to compel and plaintiff's motion for sanctions are scheduled for a hearing on August 12, 2016. Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-1(b), the Court determines that these matters are appropriate for resolution without oral argument, and hereby VACATES the hearing. The case management [*2]  conference set for 3:00 p.m. on August 12 remains on calendar.

BACKGROUND

On January 16, 2012, an explosion occurred on the KS Endeavor (Panama) drilling rig, which was drilling for natural gas in the North Apoi Field off of the coast of Nigeria. The explosion caused a fire that burned for forty-six days. Dkt. No. 99 ¶ 1. (Fourth Amd. Compl. or "FAC"). Plaintiff alleges that the KS Endeavor was operated by KS Drilling under the management of Chevron Nigeria Limited, which in turn acted at defendant Chevron Corporation's direction. Id. ¶ 2.

Plaintiff Natta Iyela Gbarabe is a fisherman who lives in a coastal community of Bayelsa State in Nigeria who depends on fishing for his primary method of earning a living. Id. ¶ 10(i). The FAC alleges that plaintiff suffered "personal loss by way of an almost total loss of yield in the waters customarily fished by plaintiff after the KS Endeavor rig explosion and 46-day fire, as well as damage to fishing equipment." Id. The FAC also alleges that "Plaintiff further suffered health issues from the effects of the polluted air and water caused by the gas rig explosion of the KS Endeavour, which included diarrhea and vomiting." Id. Plaintiff seeks to represent [*3]  "a prospective class comprising individuals who live and work in communities and co-operatives located in the Niger Delta region of southern Nigeria and identifies presently as comprising some 12,600 individuals spread across communities at or near the coastal waters of Bayelsa State, Nigeria." Id. ¶ 4. The FAC seeks compensation and punitive damages arising out of Chevron's alleged gross negligence, willful misconduct, negligence per se, acts of nuisance, and breaches of Nigerian law. Id. ¶ 3.

This lawsuit was filed on January 13, 2014. After several rounds of motion practice, plaintiff filed the fourth amended complaint on September 29, 2015. After several extensions of the schedule, plaintiff filed a motion for class certification on April 8, 2016. The class certification motion is scheduled for a hearing on December 9, 2016.

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2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103594 *; 2016 WL 4154849

NATTO IYELA GBARABE, Plaintiff, v. CHEVRON CORPORATION, Defendant.

Prior History: Ogala v. Chevron Corp., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68518 (N.D. Cal., May 19, 2014)

CORE TERMS

funding agreement, documents, site, explosion, sanctions, court order, inspection, funder's, funding, trip, motion for sanctions, class certification, Civil Local Rule, asserts