On May 18, the San Francisco Superior Court will hold a hearing, the outcome of which could prove crucial to the fate of over 100 lawsuits accusing PG&E Co.—the California utility giant—of causing the deadly and devasting North Bay Fires of October 2017.
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) is a somewhat unique company. On the one hand, as the quasi-governmental, monopolistic provider of essential utilities to millions of Californians and thousands of businesses, it is subject to a variety of rules, regulations, and laws that do not apply to ordinary companies.
In the first prosecution of its kind to arise out of the devastating North Bay Fires of October 2017, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced April 23 that a Novato real estate agent is being charged with three misdemeanors under the state’s anti-price-gouging statue for allegedly imposing an illegal rent hike just days after the fires.
In 2012, On Monday, April 17, a state court jury in California sided with the victim of an automobile accident that left him quadriplegic, awarding the plaintiff $41.6 million, largely for pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages. The suit stemmed from an accident that occurred when defendant Samantha Schilling ran a stop sign, striking the vehicle occupied by plaintiff Anthony Taylor.
In response to a lawsuit alleging that staff at the luxury Oakmont of Villa Capri senior living facility in Fountaingrove abandoned nearly one third of the approximately 70 residents to fend for themselves during the catastrophic October 2017 North Bay Fires, lawyers for the facility argued—in a stunning display of tone-deafness—that the residents and the family members who rescued them are responsible for any trauma incurred during the evacuation.
In a series of eight separate filings submitted to the San Francisco Superior Court on March 16, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) offered its most detailed legal responses to date over allegations of its role in the catastrophic North Bay Fires of October 2017. Citing the potential for the court’s ruling in this case to set a precedent threatening the economic health of all private utility companies—not just PG&E—the company urged the court’s restraint.
In yet another example of how costs of rebuilding following the catastrophic North Bay fires can expand in unforeseen ways, The Press Democrat reports that at least one homeowner has incurred tens of thousands of dollars in additional expenses and weeks of delays due to arsenic found in his soil after his home was destroyed by the fires. In addition to health and cost concerns, rebuilding homeowners and business owners also must navigate a shifting landscape of rules and regulations as state and local authorities scramble to decide how “clean” is clean enough in the wake of such widespread devastation.
The devastating North Bay fires of October 2017 continue to impact even those businesses whose locations were not to destroyed by the flames, adding lost business income to the growing list of costs associated with the disaster. While those Santa Rosa businesses that were not among the 29 damaged or destroyed by the fires might consider themselves fortunate on that count, it does not mean they have gotten away completely unscathed. In fact, many local small business owners lost their homes to the fire, only to see their businesses—spared initially—struggle to survive in the aftermath.
April 2013, Marvin Coleman of Georgia was admitted for long-term care at Heritage Healthcare of Forsyth, a facility operated by United Health Services of Georgia. At the time, Coleman was competent to sign his own admission documents, which included a voluntary alternative dispute resolution (ADR) agreement relating specifically to the Forsyth facility. In those documents, Coleman also stated multiple times that his brother-in-law Charles Biggerstaff was his representative on healthcare related issues.
In March 2015, 87-year-old Antonio Avila of Southern California was suffering from a number of ailments, including sepsis and chronic renal failure. Hoping to get his ill father the treatment he so desperately needed, Antonio’s son Alex—whom Antonio had named his agent via a 2007 power of attorney agreement—had his father transferred to a long-term acute care facility, Kindred Hospital.