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The funds will help the community rebuild and recover the public infrastructure damaged during response to the deadly Camp Fire.
SAN DIEGO, CA — Today, the national law firm of Baron & Budd, alongside Diab Chambers LLP, announced the City of Chico has been awarded $43 million from the Fire Victim Trust for damages resulting from the 2018 Camp Fire. The City of Chico operated as the response and recovery hub for the Town of Paradise which was almost entirely destroyed by the fire. The funds will compensate the City for damaged infrastructure, largely roadways damaged by tens of thousands of first responder, FEMA, utility, and construction trucks. The Trust has also awarded over $9 million to the Thermalito Water & Sewer District for damages to its infrastructure, including sedimentation which affected its water systems.
The Camp Fire was the most destructive and deadliest wildfire in the state’s history burning through more than 153,000 acres and killing 85 people. The City of Chico served as the emergency response base for several months after the Camp Fire for CalFire, FEMA, the Town of Paradise, the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and many other organizations.
“We are very impressed by the way the Trust worked so diligently to understand the City’s unique claims for public damages,” said Baron & Budd Shareholder, John Fiske, outside counsel for the City of Chico. “These funds are crucial for the communities affected by devasting wildfires, and we are thankful to the Trust as it continues to allocate the remaining awards to the fire victims.”
The Fire Victim Trust engaged in extraordinary fact-finding efforts to understand the unique claims of the only municipal corporation with damages in the Trust. JAMS Mediator Judge Jay Gandhi (Ret.) mediated the technical damages between the City and the Trust, and Trustee Cathy Yanni personally oversaw the process and the compensation.
The Trust has supported other public entity claims as the rebuilding of Paradise requires compensation to the individual fire victims as well as the public organizations that serve the community, such as roads, water, and other public infrastructure. The Trust has issued awards to more than 99% of its claimants and is currently making pro rata payments of 60%, although an additional pro rata increase is expected in 2024.
The City of Chico was represented by John Fiske and Torri Sherlin of Baron & Budd, PC, and Ed Diab and Rob Chambers of Diab Chambers, LLP, and by City Attorney John Lam.
About Baron & Budd, P.C.
Baron & Budd, P.C. is among the largest and most accomplished plaintiffs’ law firms in the country. With more than 40 years of experience, Baron & Budd has the expertise and resources to handle complex litigation throughout the United States. As a law firm that takes pride in remaining at the forefront of litigation, Baron & Budd has spearheaded many significant cases for hundreds of public entities and tens of thousands of individuals. Since the firm was founded in 1977, Baron & Budd has achieved substantial national acclaim for its work on cutting-edge litigation, trying hundreds of cases to verdict and settling tens of thousands of cases in areas of litigation as diverse and significant as dangerous and highly addictive pharmaceuticals, defective medical devices, asbestos and mesothelioma, wildfires, environmental contamination, fraudulent banking practices, e-cigarettes, motor vehicles, federal whistleblower cases, and other consumer fraud issues.