SAN FRANCISCO — Two law firms that have made names for themselves in asbestos, personal injury, products liability and other class actions now are looking for victims of California's devastating Camp Fire to represent, according to a recent press release.
"If you were impacted by the Camp Fire and wish to discuss your legal options, please call us," Baron & Budd and Dixon Diab & Chambers, referring to themselves collectively as the "Wildfire Recovery Attorneys", said in the press release issued Nov. 15.
The press release, republished largely verbatim by dozens of media outlets, also announced the filing of a lawsuit in San Francisco County on behalf of a Paradise, California resident whose home allegedly was destroyed in the Camp Fire in Northern California.
The press release names only the case number, CGC-18-571324, which traces to a nonexempt complaint, Sharron Holinsworth v Pacific Gas & Electric Corporation et. al., filed Nov. 14 in San Francisco County Superior Court.
Ahmen S. Diab, a partner and head of Dixon Diab & Chambers’ mass tort practice with a focus on pharmaceutical, medical device and wildfire litigation, is listed as Holinsworth's attorney in online information about the case.
"In the suit, the firms allege that the fire began when electrical infrastructure owned, operated and maintained by Pacific Gas & Electric failed causing a spark and ignited the massive blaze," the press release said. "As a result of this alleged wrongdoing, the fire has, to date, claimed the lives of more than 56 people, destroyed more than 8,000 structures and burned approximately 135,000 acres. The fire has also destroyed a significant portion of the city of Paradise."
Case management conference has been scheduled for April 17, according to the online San Francisco County Superior Court case information.
Damages sought in the lawsuit include destruction of property, "loss of cherished possessions" and evacuation expenses, the press release said.
"It is 100 percent the responsibility of utility providers, such as PG&E, to properly maintain their wires and electrical infrastructure," Baron & Budd shareholder John Fiske was quoted as saying in the press release. "We believe that these fires were caused by PG&E's repeated failures to keep their service delivery safe and we intend to hold them accountable for the devastation they have created."
The two firms claim in the lawsuit to represent more than 800 families and victims of the wild fires in Northern California this year against PG&E, in addition to more than 300 wild fire victims pursuing litigation against Southern California Edison.
Baron and Budd, founded in 1977 by the late Frederick Martin "Fred" Baron, best known for toxic and chemical exposure litigation during his lifetime, is based in Dallas while Dixon Diab & Chambers is based in San Diego. The press release includes information about Baron and Budd's history representing clients in the Gulf oil spill, nursing home abuse, asbestos-related illnesses and other litigation and Dixon Dian & Chambers' work in personal injury and other class actions, including wild fire litigation in the 2015 Butte and 2017 North Bay fires.
The Holinsworth case is not the only one filed against PG&E in San Francisco County Superior Court in the wake of the Camp Fire. Quammen Et Al vs. PGE, with 25 plaintiffs all described as an "owner and/or occupants of real property damaged by the Camp Fire" was filed with the court Nov. 13. Attorneys in that litigation are Michael Danko with Danko Meredith in Redwood Shores, Dario Bruce Deghetaldi with Corey, Luzaich, De Ghetaldi & Riddle in Millebrae and Eric H. Gibbs with Gibbs Law Group in Oakland.