Lawsuits pile up against PG&E
Brockovich visits victims; Over 400 claims have been filed against utilities
CHICO » Lawsuits alleging Pacific Gas and Electric is to blame for the destructive Camp Fire are piling up in Butte County Superior Court, but they may eventually be consolidated and heard in Sacramento or San Francisco.
Motions to move the cases to larger courts have been sent to the California Judicial Council, said Kimberly Flener, the chief court administrator for Butte County. The council’s chair, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye will eventually assign them to a trial judge who will rule on the requests. It is unclear when, or where, that will occur.
At least 15 suits against the utility have been filed in Butte County and two in San Francisco, including one in federal court, over the fire. The lawsuits involve more than 430 plaintiffs.
The blaze, which destroyed much of Paradise on Nov. 8 and forced a mass evacuation, was the deadliest and most destructive in state history, destroying much of Paradise. Eighty-five people died.
Lawyers from as far away as Texas have descended on the county, opening offices, soliciting clients with everything from community meetings to newspaper ads to robocalls. Eventually, tens of the thousands of plaintiffs could be involved.
One group that includes the son of former U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer brought environmentalist Erin Brockovich, whose battles against PG&E were made into a Hollywood movie bearing her name, to the area this week to promote itself. Environmentalist Erin Brockovich, whose battles against PG&E were made into a Hollywood movie, speaks to victims of the Camp Fire at the Chico Women’s Club in Chico on Tuesday.