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SDG & E C LASS A CTION Update Guejito, Witch Creek and Rice Canyon Wildfires July, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "SDG & E C LASS A CTION Update Guejito, Witch Creek and Rice Canyon Wildfires July, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 SDG & E C LASS A CTION Update Guejito, Witch Creek and Rice Canyon Wildfires July, 2008

2 B RIEF H ISTORY OF SDG & E F ILINGS November 13, 2007Downing v. SDG & E Clark v. SDG & E Macaluso, Frantz, Keegan November 15, 2007Payne v. Sempra Baker, Keener & Nahra December 4, 2007Wood v. SDG & E December 10, 2007Waldon v. SDG & E April 11, 2008Malone v. SDG & E June 3, 2008Curtis v. SDG & E May 1522008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

3 W HAT IS THE SDG & E C LASS ? NOT A TYPICAL CLASS ACTION Bifurcated—separated into two phases Phase 1: “Cause and Origin” –END of actual class portion –SDG & E pays costs of Phase 1 Phase 2: Individual damages –No longer class action –SDG & E may pay costs of Phase 2 May 1532008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

4 W HAT DO YOU NEED TO DO ? Nothing, no need to rush into a lawsuit. You are automatically included in the class action. Continue to document your “fair market value” losses. Hire an attorney for Phase 2 to protect and help prove your damage issues. Statutes of limitation are two and three years on class action issues. May 1542008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

5 H OW LONG WILL THE CLASS TAKE ? CERTIFICATION: Several months Phase 1, CAUSE & ORIGIN: 6 - 12 months Phase 2, PROOF of DAMAGES: 2 - 3 years May 1552008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

6 S OME C LASS A CTION A TTORNEYS ENGSTROM, LIPSCOMB & LACK Jerry Ramsey Brian Heffernan 310-552-3800 www.elllaw.com BAKER, KEENER & NAHRA Robert Baker R. Jeffrey Neer 213-241-0900 www.bknlawyers.com GIRARDI & KEESE 213-977-0211 www.girardikeese.net May 1562008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

7 G IRARDI & K EESE www.girardikeese.net May 1572008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

8 B AKER, K EENER & N AHRA www.bknlawyers.com May 1582008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

9 E NGSTROM, L IPSCOMB & L ACK www.elllaw.com May 1592008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

10 H OW ARE A TTORNEYS ’ F EES P AID ? No cost for class members Court decides if SDG & E pays: Direct costs Fair and reasonable attorney fees Fire victims pay no fees or costs If unsuccessful, attorneys absorb cost No “pool” of funds to be shared May 15102008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

11 C LASS A CTION G OALS Prove SDG & E’s negligence Cause of the 2007 wildfires –Guejito –Witch Creek –Rice Canyon Protect interests of fire victims from –Sempra Energy, SDG & E –Quinn Emanuel, SDG & E’s defense firm May 15112008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

12 W HAT I SSUES TO BE R ESOLVED ? Phase 1 Cause of the 2007 wildfires –Guejito –Witch Creek –Rice Canyon Origin of the 2007 wildfires SDG & E’s negligence SDG & E’s trespass, other torts May 15122008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

13 SDG & E D EFENSE A TTORNEYS Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hodges, LLP 865 Figueroa Street, 10 th Floor Los Angeles, California 90016 from www.quinnemanuel.com: May 15132008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

14 SDG & E A TTORNEYS SDG & E hired Quinn Emanuel, Los Angeles “Top Guns” Over 350 lawyers Largest business law firm in US Extremely aggressive “Open Checkbook” to protect client See website: www.quinnemanuel.com May 15142008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

15 I NDIVIDUAL “T ORT ” L AWSUITS Fire victim depositions Fire victim interrogatories Legal fees up to 40% Increased expert costs Increased stress Added incentive for Quinn Emanuel to impose all discovery tactics May 15152008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

16 D EPOSITION AND D ISCOVERY Class action: Individual “class members” will NOT be deposed Class “representatives” subject to discovery and depositions Individual lawsuit: Each plaintiff CAN be deposed Spouse, friends, relatives CAN be deposed May 15162008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

17 R ESOURCES R EQUIRED To take on SDG & E and Quinn Emanuel: Experienced attorneys –Class actions –Against SDG & E Substantial in-house funding Substantial in-house specialist lawyers to handle discovery issues May 15172008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

18 W HY L OS A NGELES L AW F IRMS ? Largest and most experienced law firms in Los Angeles Won $1.8+ billion award against SDG & E in 2007 SDG & E is using a major Los Angeles law firm May 15182008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

19 H OW WILL YOU BE I NCLUDED ? Automatic inclusion Need to do nothing to stay in class Court, through media, will keep you informed If you or your attorney “opts” you out of the class, you can never return to the class May 15192008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

20 H OW WILL YOU BE N OTIFIED OF C LASS ? Court will notify CARe will email updates CARe will have meetings Newspaper announcements Other media announcements May 15202008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

21 W HAT H APPENS AFTER P HASE 1? Present documented loss to court. Most likely need an attorney at that point May 15212008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

22 W HAT I SSUES TO BE R ESOLVED ? Phase 2 Like a brand new trial Your loss –Actual damages –Emotional distress –Punitive damages May 15222008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

23 P ROVE Y OUR I NDIVIDUAL L OSS Continue to collect your documents –Fair market value –Obtain receipts –Obtain photos Best to have class action lawyers Some people want lawyers now May 15232008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe

24 W HAT Y OU N EED TO K NOW Class action in two phases: 1.“Cause and Origin” 2.Proof of individual damages Class action NOT to distribute money Class action NOT like a Vioxx award SDG & E pays legal costs in Class action Class members will NOT be deposed May 15242008 © Community Assisting Recovery, Inc., CARe


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