Court Order Coordinating Wildfire Cases in San Francisco
As the Walkup Firm predicted, the court in San Francisco has granted the petition to coordinate all of the Northern California fire cases in San Francisco. Having a San Francisco Law Firm familiar with the court will be essential to protect client rights and bring the best possible outcomes.
Below is the “Plain Language Summary” from the Court Order:
As a result of the so-called “North Bay Fires” many hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against PG&E, which is accused of being legally responsible for the damage caused by those fires. Many more cases will probably be filed. Most of the cases were filed in San Francisco, because that’s where PG&E has its offices, but others brought cases in additional counties, such as Napa and Sonoma.
Under California law, people involved in related cases can ask a court to assign all the cases to one judge. This is termed coordination. Coordinated cases usually go through pre-trial procedures together, but they may or may not go to trial together. Even if cases are coordinated in one county, individual cases could go to trial in other counties, such as the county where they were originally filed.
Some of the parties who brought these cases want them handled closer to where they live, such as Napa, Sonoma, and other counties. PG&E thinks it’s best to divide up all the cases and send them out to 5 different counties, centered on where the various fires started. Others involved in these cases want all the cases coordinated in one county, San Francisco.
This order recommends that the pre-trial procedures for all the cases be in San Francisco, because that’s the most convenient place for almost everyone, and because there are a series of fact and legal issues which are common to all the cases, which can therefore be handled once, as opposed to many, possibly conflicting, ways across the various counties.
After this order is filed, the Chair of the Judicial Council, who is the Chief Justice of California, will decide whether to accept or reject the recommendation and coordination.