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October 30th, 2017

Can’t Sue God or Nature, So Disaster-Chasing Personal Injury Lawyers Go after Utilities

Parasitic personal injury lawyers have drummed up class actions in the wake of both natural and manmade disasters before, but it’s tough to recall when they’ve been quicker on the opportunistic draw than they’ve been in suing utilities in the Judicial Hellholes states of California and Florida in the wake of recent wildfires and a hurricane.

Embers are still smoldering in the Golden State, but apparently that doesn’t mean it’s too soon for plaintiffs’ lawyers from California and across the country to be soliciting potential clients for lawsuits against a deep-pocket utility company they’re already blaming for the deadly fires that ravaged public and private property to the tune of billions of dollars in the Santa Rosa and Cloverdale areas north of San Francisco.

Never mind that police have arrested an arson suspect and the state’s investigation into the fires’ origins is otherwise ongoing.

As sometimes sarcastic Press Democrat columnist Chris Smith put it over the weekend, “It appears that news of the fires that ravaged the North Bay and beyond has touched the heart of the Lalezary Law Firm of Beverly Hills.

“’As Reserve Deputy Sheriffs and Personal Injury Lawyers,’ reads one of the firm’s new, targeted promotions, ‘we feel it is our duty to launch a full investigation and bring swift justice for the families who were affected all across of (sic) California.’

“That is so sweet. After the limitless demonstrations of valor, selflessness and generosity, we now witness a flood of offers from lawyers from down the block and across the nation to advocate for victims of our greatest disaster — and for an ample share of any judgments or settlements,” Smith wryly observed, noting that piranha from Orlando-based Morgan and Morgan, Dallas-based Baron & Budd and others are already circling, hoping to tear open the presumably deep pockets of the principal provider of electric power to much of Northern California.

It’s a safe bet rate payers are less eager to see a costly litigation feeding frenzy ensue, but the lawyers aren’t worried about them.

Meanwhile, in the Sunshine State, more lawyers, including one who moonlights as a city commissioner in Coral Gables, are alleging in lawsuits that the principal utility there in South Florida didn’t get the lights back on quickly enough after Hurricane Irma rampaged through the state, flooding streets and highways, toppling trees and utility poles and otherwise wreaking havoc on the lives of millions of people.

Not coincidentally, the Coral Gables Commission voted 4-0 last week to sue the utility, essentially it didn’t perform enough maintenance on trees around its power lines.  And according to Law360.com, a class of Miami residents has been rounded up for a presumably comparable suit.  So what if consumers pay more for electricity in the future.