Select the Right Law Firm
Choose Co-Lead Counsel
Unlike the vast majority of in-state and out-of-state lawyers who have appeared in the fire litigation since its inception, the Walkup Melodia team has the distinction of being one of three co-led counsel firms in the litigation (together with Cotchett Pitre and McCarthy, and Robbins Cloud). Walkup Melodia is also one of three co-liaison firms, responsible for the day-to-day management of the case. This means that the Walkup Melodia team of litigators is at the very forefront of the litigation. As your lawyers we are involved with all critical decision-making, and we are actively prosecuting the litigation on behalf of all fire victims. Our team has the respect of the supervising judge, as demonstrated by the skill and professionalism shown in all of the court hearings which have occurred to date. Senior partner Michael Kelly was the primary spokesperson for all fire victims at the initial case management conference, and partner Khaldoun Baghdadi successfully argued the opposition on behalf of all fire victims to PG&E’s request that inverse condemnation liability be thrown out. In addition to these two skilled litigators, we have four additional lawyers working on the cases together with a team of experienced legal assistants and paralegals. In addition, we are working closely with our consortium partners, Abbey, Weitzenberg, et. al. in Santa Rosa, Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP, Panish Shea & Boyle LLP, and Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood Campora, LLP. Our five firms have come together to prosecute claims of negligence against those who have caused this devastating loss, the deaths of more than 40 people, the injuries to scores more, the displacement of thousands more, and the loss of over 10,000 homes and structures.
We are representing citizens with hundreds of thousands of dollars of uninsured losses, loss of vegetation, trees and ranchland, as well as fire victims who sustained burns, physical injuries, and the loss of loved ones.
Choose Lawyers Who are Local and Trusted
The lawyers on the Walkup Melodia fire team have longstanding ties to the Sonoma and Napa communities. Mike Kelly’s mother came to Sonoma in 1975. Mike and his wife bought their home in Lovall Valley in 1985. Khaldoun Baghdadi’s in-laws raised their children in Santa Rosa and his brother-in-law lost his home in the Fountain grove blaze. Daniel Kelly, an emeritus partner in the firm, has resided near Silverado in Napa since the 1990’s. Matthew Davis and his family have a home in Napa on Redwood Road. Our consortium partners at the Abbey, Weitzenberg firm have been a fixture in the Sonoma County legal landscape for more than 50 years. Members of their firm lost homes, property, and treasured possessions. They are well known and trusted. Each of us has seen our friends and neighbors experience devastating losses of real and personal property. We grieve with our friends and neighbors as they try to rebuild what has been lost, and we are committed to staying the course with them to make certain that the litigation process places them in a position where they can rebuild.
Do Not Fall Prey to Mass Advertisers, Billboards, or Unwanted Junk Mail.
We were offended and apologize for those members of the legal profession who have bombarded victims with marketing and advertising in emails, newspaper ads, billboards, and seemingly endless cards and letters. Reports of unscrupulous people posing as wildfire experts or claims adjusting specialists have surfaced in Santa Rosa, Napa, Sonoma and Calistoga.
We have depended upon referrals from other lawyers, judges, CPAs, clergy and professionals who have worked with our firms in the past. We are not about high-pressure sales tactics, threats or doomsday sales pitches. We are interested in making sure that our clients are fairly represented and that all avenues of recovery are evaluated and pursued. We are available to meet in person, in your home or office, or in our office to discuss representation. There is no charge for an initial visit or case evaluation. There is no reason for any victim of the fires who has sustained compensable losses to fall victim to marketing schemes perpetrated by case aggregators advertising on television or radio – do your homework! Find someone who is referred by a trusted friend or professional. Review the qualifications and competence of the lawyer or law firm. Find out what experience your lawyer has had in the past with the San Francisco Superior Court or the courts of Sonoma and Napa.
A Few other tips:
- Check with the State Bar of California. The State Bar has warned the public to watch out for and report potential fraud by persons posing as claim representatives or lawyers.
- Ask for references from Northern California lawyers and judges.
- Ask if the law firm has recent experience and success in litigation against PG&E.
- Check YELP reviews
Walkup Law Firm Clients Benefit From a Powerhouse Legal Collaboration in the Wine Country Fire Cases
Five of the state’s most prestigious law firms have united to form one of the most powerful legal teams ever assembled in order to protect victims in all of the areas affected by these fires, including, but not limited to, Sonoma County, Napa County, Glen Ellen, Santa Rosa, Lake County, Mendocino County, Potter Valley & Redwood Valley.
Our aim is to ensure that families and businesses affected by these catastrophic fires are treated fairly and that those responsible for their devastating losses are held accountable.
Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, based in San Francisco, has successfully prosecuted PG&E as a result of transformer fires, power line failures and transformer explosions. Senior partner, Michael A. Kelly, served as lead counsel in injury lawsuits arising from a series of transformer explosions in San Francisco’s Financial District, and has litigated multiple utility transmission line fire cases resulting in serious burns and amputation injuries. Partner Khaldoun Baghdadi is currently prosecuting a case against PG&E stemming from their failure to maintain proper power line clearance and has handled a number of fire cases which resulted in catastrophic harm to people and their property. Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy has won numerous multi-million dollar cases against PG&E. Panish Shea & Boyle LLP and Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood Campora, LLP prosecuted PG&E following the San Bruno Gas Explosion in 2010 that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes after a natural gas pipeline sent a giant plume of fire into the air. As a result of the explosion, PG&E paid in excess of $2 billion in fines and civil settlements. Abbey Wittenberg Warren & Emery have been well known and respected in Sonoma and Napa for over 50 years and have a dedicated team in place to help victims of this tragedy.