First “Vessel of Opportunity” Class Action Filed Against United States Maritime Services, Inc.

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Finckbeiner & Robin and Pendley, Baudin & Coffin, LLP. Lester Ansardi, a commercial fisherman from coastal Louisiana, has filed a class action lawsuit in the Civil District Court in the State of Louisiana, Parish of Orleans, on behalf of himself and other boat owners who participated in BP’s so-called “Vessels of Opportunity” program. Lester Ansardi, et al. v. United States Maritime Services, Inc., et al., Civil District Court, Parish of Orleans, State of Louisiana, Civil Action No. 2011-11436.

Finckbeiner & Robin and Pendley, Baudin & Coffin, LLP. Lester Ansardi, a commercial fisherman from coastal Louisiana, has filed a class action lawsuit in the Civil District Court in the State of Louisiana, Parish of Orleans, Civil Action No. 2011-11436, on behalf of himself and other boat owners who participated in BP’s so-called “Vessels of Opportunity” program. While other class actions have been filed against BP making similar claims, this is the first class action filed against United States Maritime Services, Inc.

Mr. Ansardi claims that United States Maritime Services, Inc., contracted with boat owners to help BP clean up the Gulf Coast following the BP oil spill, but it failed to fully pay him. Mr. Ansardi’s agreement with United States Maritime Services, Inc., like all of its agreements with boat owners, committed him to make his boat available twenty-four hours a day until the end of the contract. He could not use his boat for any other purpose during the term of the contract.

United States Maritime Services, Inc., however, only paid Mr. Ansardi for use of the boat for days during the contract period when the boat was actually used. Mr. Ansardi claims that United States Maritime Services, Inc. owes him payment for all days the boat was under contract, even those days when the boat was not put to physical use.

According to Dan A. Robin, an attorney for Mr. Ansardi, more than 500 boat owners contracted with United States Maritime Services, Inc. to put their boats into the VOO program and they all have been short-changed on their contracts. "It's time for these boat owners to be paid the money they are owed," he said.

The suit is captioned Lester Ansardi, et al. v. United States Maritime Services, Inc., et al., Civil District Court, Parish of Orleans, State of Louisiana, Civil Action No. 2011-11436. A copy of the complaint is available at http://www.pbclawfirm.com.

Mr. Ansardi is represented by Christopher L. Coffin, Dan A. Robin, Jr., Kevin I. Goldberg and Gary E. Mason. Christopher L. Coffin of Pendley, Baudin & Coffin, L.L.P., LLP (New Orleans & Plaquemine, Louisiana) has years of experience litigating complex cases involving environmental contamination, product liability, toxic torts and consumer fraud in many national lawsuits representing thousands of individuals. Dan A. Robin, Jr. (Chalmette, Louisiana) has over 15 years of litigation and trial experience on behalf of injured persons. Gary E. Mason of Mason LLP (Washington, D.C.) frequently represents victims of environmental incidents, including thousands of Alaskans in the Exxon Valdez litigation. Kevin I. Goldberg of Goldberg, Finnegan & Mester, LLC (Silver Spring. Maryland) has been named in Maryland Superlawyers Magazine and D.C. Superlawyers Magazine from 2007 through 2010 and has been vigorously representing Gulf oil spill victims since the spill.

Contact: Christopher L. Coffin, 225-687-6396, ccoffin(at)pbclawfirm(dot)com

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Gary Mason
Mason LLP
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