Wildfire and Environmental Attorneys Named to Public Entities Lead Counsel, Individual Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee and Individual Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee
San Francisco, March 14, 2018 – The California Fire Lawyers, a consortium of nationally-recognized environmental and wildfire attorneys from multiple law firms, announced today that the San Francisco Superior Court has appointed five of its member attorneys to serve in key leadership positions in the North Bay Fires litigation.
“On behalf of my colleagues and peers at California Fire Lawyers, we are honored to be appointed by the San Francisco Superior Court to serve in key leadership positions in the North Bay Fires litigation. The Court’s decision installs important organization and delegation structure enabling us to move through the PG&E litigation process in an organized and efficient manner,” said Scott Summy, Shareholder at Baron & Budd and head of the firm’s Environmental Litigation Group. “Ultimately, this decision helps the communities and the thousands of wildfire victims, who lost their lives and more than 14,700 homes. The appointed leadership structure will enable my colleagues and me to help achieve justice for all of the victims.”
Summy was appointed as Public Entities Lead Counsel and as a member of the Individual Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee. As Public Entities Lead Counsel, Summy will be responsible for responding to discovery, briefing, and argument of issues that are specific to the Public Entity cases. Summy will maintain a current listing of all Public Entity cases and identify the same for the Executive Plaintiff’s Committee, Defendants and the Court. Attorneys in any Public Entity will liaise and cooperate with Summy, the Court and Individual Plaintiffs’ Lead Counsel.
Ed Diab, a partner with Dixon Diab & Chambers LLP, and who currently leads the mass tort practice for the firm, joins Summy as appointed counsel on the Individual Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee. In this capacity, Diab and Summy will work with others appointed to coordinate the plaintiffs’ pre-trial activities, including the designation of subcommittees which is designed to service plaintiffs and their attorneys. They will also liaise with plaintiffs’ attorneys and the Individual Plaintiff’s Lead Counsel, and where appropriate, chair and organize subcommittees to address specific issues of concern as it relates to claims from other plaintiff groups.
The Superior Court appointed Gerald Singleton, of Singleton Law Firm; Terry Singleton, of Terry Singleton APC; and John F. “Mickey” McGuire, of Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire LLP to serve on the Individual Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. Responsibilities for this Committee include meeting and strategizing to provide guidance to Individual Plaintiffs’ Lead Counsel, Liaison Counsel and the Executive Committee regarding the pre-trial activities and litigation strategy. The Committee will provide recommendations, draft motions and opposing briefs, as well as take depositions. Where appropriate, members of this committee may serve on subcommittees.
The North Bay Fires began on October 8, 2017, and caused 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 decision to coordinate the North Bay Fire litigation supports the initial petition filed on October 31, 2017, by law firms including the California Fire Lawyers. The attorneys with California Fire Lawyers have decades of experience fighting and winning on behalf of their clients. Together, the California Fire Lawyers (which includes Baron & Budd, Singleton Law Firm, Dixon Diab & Chambers LLP, Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire, and Terry Singleton, Esq.) have obtained more than $700 million for over 4,000 victims of other wildfires in California, including the 2007 San Diego Fires and the 2015 Butte Fire. Attorneys with the group have also been at the forefront of other major environmental litigation, including a leadership role in the Multi-District Litigation for the 2010 BP Gulf Oil Spill.
California Fire Lawyers has also been retained by the County of Sonoma, the County of Napa, Montecito Water District and other public entities in both Northern and Southern California for litigation against PG&E and SoCal Edison related to the devastating wildfires of 2017.
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