The human costs of the recent Northern California wildfires were staggering, with 43 people losing...READ MORE
California Fire Lawyers File Petition to Expedite Justice for Victims through Judicial Council Coordination Proceedings
SONOMA, Calif., November 1, 2017 – Today, the California Fire Lawyers, including the firms of Baron & Budd, Singleton Law Firm, Dixon Diab & Chambers LLP, and Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire announced that a petition was filed to coordinate all cases arising out of the devastating Northern California fires against Pacific Gas & Electric Company. The filing was made yesterday by California Fire Lawyers, Robins Cloud LLP and Edgar Law Firm petitioning the Judicial Council of California for a Judicial Council Coordinated Proceeding (“JCCP”).
By using a JCCP to hear the cases, one judge would oversee all pre-trial proceedings, eliminating duplication of efforts in the discovery process, wasting judicial resources and reducing the likelihood of inconsistent rulings on individual cases. To date, seven cases, including more than 50 plaintiffs, have been filed against PG&E Corporation and Pacific Gas & Electric Company for their role in causing what is being termed the Wine Country Fires.
The Wine Country Fires began on October 8th, causing extensive damages in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Lake, Solano and Butte Counties. The fires burned more than 220,000 acres, destroyed more than 8,400 structures and claimed the lives of more than 40 people.
“The Northern California fires have many similarities to the BP oil spill in that corporate disasters impact thousands of people,” said Baron & Budd Shareholder, Scott Summy. “It is important to coordinate the cases of those impacted in front of one judge who can oversee all pre-trial legal rulings and discovery because it eliminates inconsistent rulings and any undue delay in justice.”
“Given the widespread devastation these fires have caused, we have no doubt that there will be thousands of cases filed against PG&E,” said Ed Diab of Dixon Diab & Chambers LLP. “Bringing these cases together in front of one judge is the best way to streamline the legal process for the victims of these devastating fires.”
California Fire Lawyers have successfully leveraged JCCP proceedings to expedite justice for victims of wildfires and other corporate disasters. For example, following the Butte Fire in 2015, the firms led the charge to coordinate more than 2,000 cases into a JCCP, resulting in the successful settlement of hundreds of claims. Additionally, lead attorneys with California Fire Lawyers used a similar process when representing victims of the BP Oil Spill, resulting in more than $1 billion in settlements for victims.
California Fire Lawyers, comprised of Baron & Budd, Singleton Law Firm, Dixon Diab & Chambers LLP and Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire have hired investigators, experts and adjusters to expedite the recovery process for victims. On October 19, the firms opened their Sonoma Office at 418 B Street, First floor, Santa Rosa, CA 95401. To inquire by phone, call 707-533-8128. Other information can be found online at www.CaliforniaFireLawyers.com.
ABOUT BARON & BUDD, P.C.
The law firm of Baron & Budd, P.C., with offices in Dallas, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Austin, Los Angeles, and San Diego, is a nationally recognized law firm with a nearly 40-year history of “Protecting What’s Right” for people, communities and businesses harmed by negligence. Baron & Budd’s size and resources enable the firm to take on large and complex cases. The firm represents individuals and government and business entities in areas as diverse as dangerous pharmaceuticals and medical devices, environmental contamination, the Gulf oil spill, financial fraud, overtime violations, deceptive advertising, automotive defects, trucking accidents, nursing home abuse, and asbestos-related illnesses such as mesothelioma.
ABOUT SINGLETON LAW FIRM, APC
Singleton Law Firm, based in San Diego, is one of the top fire litigation firms in the state of California. We have represented thousands of individuals in major fires all over the state of California, and we have recovered over $600 million for our clients in fire cases. Our lead attorney, Gerald Singleton, has served as Liaison Counsel and on the Executive Committees in some of the largest fires in the state. We currently represent over 2,000 individuals in the 2015 Butte Fire, which was a catastrophic fire started by PG&E power lines that burned over 70,000 acres in Calaveras and Amador counties. We recently represented the largest individual group of plaintiffs in the 2013 Powerhouse Fire in Los Angeles County, and Mr. Singleton served as Liaison Counsel for that case. Prior to the Powerhouse Fire, Singleton Law Firm was one of four firms who teamed up in a joint venture to represent over 1,600 individuals in the 2007 San Diego Fires. Although we specialize in high value cases, we represent individuals and business with all types of damages, from wrongful deaths to homeowners to renters.
ABOUT DIXON DIAB & CHAMBERS LLP
The lawyers at Dixon Diab & Chambers LLP have gained national recognition as being some of the top litigators in their respective areas of practice. Ed Diab leads the firm’s fire litigation practice and has litigated numerous wildfire cases throughout the country. He was actively involved in the widely publicized lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric arising out of the 2010 San Bruno Gas Pipeline Explosion that leveled 38 homes and killed 8. He also currently represents numerous people in lawsuits against Pacific Gas & Electric that sustained significant property damages arising out of the 2015 Butte Fire in Amador/Calaveras County that burned over 70,000 acres. Both Deborah Dixon and Robert Chambers have significant experience litigating complex, multi-party lawsuits against entities and insurance companies on behalf of individuals and businesses. Their experience in personal injury, business litigation, products liability and class actions provide integral background for fire cases, as does their direct experience handling claims on behalf of victims who suffered personal injury and property damages because of fires.
ABOUT THORSNES BARTOLOTTA MCGUIRE
Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire was founded in 1978 by Michael T. Thorsnes and Vincent J. Bartolotta Jr. Less than a year later, third partner, John F. “Mickey” McGuire joined the firm. The firm has six partners including senior partner Kevin F. Quinn and partners Karen R. Frostrom, Ian C. Fusselman, and Brett J. Schreiber. Michael Thorsnes retired in 2002 but continues to be involved with the firm in an Of Counsel capacity. Since its inception the firm has annually earned numerous commendations, among them designations by American Lawyer Magazine as one of the top 20 firms in the Nation. The firm was recognized as Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report and received the prestigious Tier One ranking for San Diego in the in the categories of Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Construction; Litigation – Real Estate; Mass Torts Litigation/Class Actions; Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs and Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs. Since that time, all six partners, as well as our four associates, have had favorite success stories, none sweeter than those for which they have been recognized by peers in diverse legal fields ranging from construction defects to personal injury to medical malpractice to business litigation. A chronology of the firm includes such awards conferred with astonishing regularity upon Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire partners as “Outstanding Trial Lawyer,” “Trial Lawyer of the Year,” and “Best Lawyers in America”. The firm has just received the prestigious “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report for 2018.