SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The national law firm of Baron & Budd is pleased to announce that Shareholder John Fiske and attorney Torri Sherlin have been named 2020 California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year (CLAY) by the Daily Journal. The award recognizes attorneys throughout California whose work made a significant impact on the law, the legal profession, or a practice area. Fiske and Sherlin work in the Baron & Budd Environmental Litigation Group litigating complex environmental cases all over the country.
In the only major California wildfire settlement in 2019, and the most comprehensive public entity wildfire resolution in the history of the state of California, Fiske and Sherlin obtained a $360 million settlement with Southern California Edison on behalf of 23 public entities for taxpayer, public, and environmental losses caused by the 2017 Thomas and Koenigstein Fires, the 2018 Montecito Debris Flows, and the 2018 Woolsey Fire. Fiske and Sherlin helped lead a team of several Baron & Budd lawyers and paralegals including Shareholder Scott Summy, Stephen Johnston, Staci Olson, Chris Edwards, Jennifer Hutchison, Erin McIntosh, and Kelley Peters, among others.
“This groundbreaking settlement created a new paradigm for public entities in wildfire actions because it incorporated the inter-governmental complexities associated with federal and state disaster aid, and to our knowledge this is a novel solution—especially considering the breadth of 23 public entities resolving 26 different deals,” said Fiske. “Scott Summy and Stephen Johnston, based in our Dallas office, were lead members of this team and absolutely essential to the case’s success, among several other team members. We share this honor with each of the government and in-house co-counsel from the 23 public entities—they were absolutely critical in the litigation, strategy, and resolution, especially when it came to coordination with the federal and state governments.”
As part of the comprehensive resolution, reimbursements to FEMA and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services were negotiated, in cooperation with Edison, through a complex mediation process, led by JAMS Mediator Judge (Ret.) Jay Gandhi. This resolution structure appears to be the first of its kind, especially for multi-public entity wildfire litigation.
“Working daily with the individual departments from all 23 public entities - from the department of public works to police and fire - to understand the devastating impacts the fire had on their communities, was truly rewarding work,” said Sherlin. “Working directly with first responders showed me first-hand their heroism through the multi-week fire suppression efforts. Recovering community and taxpayer resources was a true herculean effort that could not have been made possible without the dedication of the entire litigation team, including government and in-house counsel.”
Mr. Fiske also fought for the rights of all property owners and wildfire victims as the only victim’s lawyer to testify during the historic SB 901 hearings at the state capitol, advocating against eliminating inverse condemnation. His lobbying, along with the efforts of several lawyers and lobbyists, helped lead the California Legislature to vote in favor of protecting the constitutional property rights of public entities and other property owners, just months before the devastating 2018 Camp and 2018 Woolsey Fires occurred.
Baron & Budd would also like to congratulate CLAY co-award winner Ed Diab from Dixon Diab & Chambers. Diab was lead co-counsel in this case and was vital to its success, helping to lead efforts on cause and origin, public witness preparation, damages, and overall strategy.
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 entities and 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, California wildfires and environmental contamination, fraudulent banking practices, e-cigarettes, motor vehicles, federal whistleblower cases, and other consumer fraud issues.