On February 27, 2018, Wildfire Victim Advocates attorneys Michael Kelly of Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger and Frank Pitre of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP were appointed as Co-Lead Counsel, representing thousands of individual plaintiffs filing lawsuits against Pacific Gas & Electric Company and PG&E Corporation as a result of the North Bay Fires. The appointment was made by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Curtis E.A. Karnow following the first case management hearing in last week, with the judge signing the order on Wednesday, March 6, 2018.
“It is an honor to be placed in a position of such responsibility,” said Kelly. “The damage, loss and harm our friends and neighbors have endured as a result of the North Bay Fires has been catastrophic and we’re ready to get to work, moving the claims for damage from all of the PG&E originated fires to resolution. Our goal is justice for the victims and the survivors.”
Serving as Co-Lead Counsel with Kelly and Pitre is Bill Robins III of Robins Cloud LLP. Together, these three head a team of more than 30 firms who will be responsible for overseeing and coordinating all pretrial activities in the complex litigation, including the briefing, filing and arguing of motions, taking all discovery, as well as appearing before the court at all court ordered proceedings and presenting cases at trial for the individual plaintiffs.
Wildfire Victims Advocates attorney Khaldoun Baghdadi with Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger was also appointed to serve as Plaintiffs’ Co-Liaison Counsel along with Amy Eskin of Levin Simes LLP and Steven Skikos of Skikos, Crawford, Skikos & Joseph LLP. Their responsibilities include receiving and distributing orders, notices and correspondence from the court to plaintiffs’ counsel, as well as maintain and make available a complete set of all filed pleadings and orders filed and/or served in the coordinated proceedings.
In addition, Wildfire Victim Advocates attorneys Brian Panish and Rahul Ravipudi of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP, Steve Campora of Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood Campora LLP as well as Brendan M. Kunkle and Michael Green of Abbey, Weitzenberg, Warren & Emery have been named members of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee. Members of this committee will, along with other responsibilities, coordinate pretrial activities and work performed by lead counsel and liaison counsel as well as call meetings and consult with individual Plaintiffs’ counsel on matters of common concern.
For the full list of appointments, click here.
The North Bay Fires began in October 2017 when electrical equipment owned and maintained by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) came into contact with vegetation and/or other equipment owned and maintained by the utility, all because of PG&E’s alleged disregard of mandated safety practices and the foreseeable risks associated with failure to reasonably manage its infrastructure. As a result of the North Bay Fires, at least 43 people were killed, many others injured, more than 14,700 homes were destroyed and over 245,000 acres burned throughout California’s Wine County.
If you or someone you love has been affected by the North Bay Fires – including the Tubbs, Atlas, Nuns, Oakmont, Adobe, Norrbom, Partrick, Redwood, Pressley, Sulphur and Pocket fires – please call our Wildfire Victim Advocates attorneys at (707) 658-4415 to schedule a free consultation and discuss your legal options.