LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Wildfire Victim Advocates attorneys Brian Panish and Rahul Ravipudi of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP have been named as Individual Plaintiffs' Co-Lead Counsel, representing more than 1,500 individual plaintiffs filing lawsuits against Southern California Edison as a result of the Thomas Fire and subsequent debris flows in Montecito, California. The appointment was made following a case management hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court on July 5, and signed by the Honorable Daniel J. Buckley on July 11, 2018.
“Utility company negligence and its culture of putting profits over the safety of people has destroyed thousands of lives and continues to put the lives of all Californians at risk,” says Ravipudi. “We’re ready to get to work, holding those accountable for the catastrophic losses of the victims and fighting proposed legislation that would allow utilities companies to pass the cost of their negligence on to the ratepayers.”
“We recognize that with this great honor comes an even greater responsibility to ensure that the voices of the victims and survivors are heard,” adds Panish. “Our goal is justice for the victims, the survivors and their families, both in the courtroom and in Sacramento.”
Serving as Co-Lead Counsel, attorneys Panish and Ravipudi, as well as Robert Nelson and Lexi Hazam of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, will be responsible for overseeing and coordinating all of pretrial activities in the complex litigation, including the briefing, filing and arguing of motions, taking all discovery, as well as appearing before the court and presenting the position for individual plaintiffs at all court ordered proceedings.
Wildfire Victim Advocates attorney Lyssa Roberts with Panish Shea & Boyle LLP was also appointed by Judge Buckley to serve as Plaintiffs Co-Liaison Counsel alongside Walter Lack and Greg Waters of Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack. 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 these coordinated proceedings.
In addition, Wildfire Victim Advocates attorneys Frank Pitre and Allison Cordova of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP as well as Michael A. Kelly and Khaldoun Baghdadi of Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger have been named members of the Plaintiffs' Executive Committee. They will serve in partnership with attorneys from nine additional law firms to 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.
The Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding is being heard in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles. (Southern California Fire Cases (JCCP No. 4965))
If you or someone you love has been affected by the Thomas Fire in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties – including the subsequent debris flows in Montecito on January 9, 2018 – please call our Wildfire Victim Advocates attorneys at (805) 210-8528 to schedule a free consultation and discuss your legal options.
For more information, visit www.wildfirevictims.com.
About Wildfire Victim Advocates
Thomas Fire Wildfire Victim Advocates includes the law firms of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP, Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP and Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger. These powerhouse firms have extensive experience in litigation against utility companies and, together, have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for fire victims. Members of this consortium have led the charge for victims impacted by the 2010 San Bruno Gas Explosion, the 2015 Butte Fire in Amador County, and serve as leadership counsel to thousands of individual plaintiffs who have suffered total property loss or the loss of a loved one as a result of the 2017 North Bay Fires in Northern California.