On June 21, 2019, Judge William F. Highberger of the Superior Court of California issued a Case Management Order naming Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP partner and Co-Chair of the firm’s Personal Injury practice group Lexi J. Hazam as Co-Lead Counsel for Individual Plaintiffs in the coordinated Woolsey Fire Cases relating to the devastating 2018 fire that burned more than 96,000 acres in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.
The Woolsey Fire Cases seek justice and damages from defendants Southern California Edison Company and Edison International. One of the largest and most destructive in Los Angeles history, the fire tore through Malibu as well as parts of the San Fernando Valley. The fire is alleged to have been started by equipment owned and operated by SoCal Edison near its Chatsworth substation, and the cases include claims for negligence, trespass, inverse condemnation, and violation of the California Public Utilities and Health and Safety codes.
“We are honored to represent the plaintiffs in the Woolsey fire cases,” noted Ms. Hazam, “and are pleased that Judge Highberger has provided a clear and powerful leadership structure for the representation of plaintiffs in the lawsuits arising from injuries and damages caused by the fire.”
The fire, which broke out on November 8, 2018, burned over 98,000 acres of land, killed at least 3 people and destroyed at least 1,600 buildings and other structures in an area approximately the size of the city of Denver. The fire was named the Woolsey Fire because of its origination point near Woolsey Canyon Road in Ventura County.
Also named as co-lead counsel were Brian Panish of Panish, Shea & Boyle, LLP and Alexander Robertson of Robertson & Associates, LLP. The Judge’s Order noted that these Lead Counsel for Individual Plaintiffs will “authorize and direct the work of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee (of which they will be members) and individual plaintiffs’ counsel for cases involving individual plaintiffs,” including appearing to present the position of individual plaintiffs at all conferences or other court hearings, directing and coordinating the briefing and argument of all motions directed at or brought by individual plaintiffs, all discovery proceedings on behalf of individual plaintiffs, directing and managing all aspects of the Class Litigation, managing and selecting all cases for trial, and conducting and managing conferences and negotiations with defendants relating to liability issues, as well as submitting as appropriate additional individual plaintiffs’ committees and counsel for designation by the Court.
Judge Highberger noted that appointing the leadership group for the cases was necessary due to the complexities of the underlying mass tort cases.
California Fire Lawyers at Lieff Cabraser
Lieff Cabraser represents a wide range of individuals and businesses in numerous California wildfire cases, including the 2017 Thomas Fire and ensuing mudslide in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, the 2017 Northern California Wine Country Fires, and the 2018 Camp Fire. We are handling a wide range of legal claims on behalf of homeowners, residents and businesses who suffered losses in these cases and the Woolsey case. Victims of these and other fires are always welcome to contact Ms. Hazam and the firm’s other wildfire lawyers about their potential case online or by telephone at 415 956-1000.
Lexi J. Hazam
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP