On the night of Friday, December 2, 2016, 36 persons died, almost all young adults, and many more suffered physical and psychological injuries in a horrific fire that consumed the Ghost Ship building in the Fruitvale District of Oakland. The fire started near midnight during an electronic music show in the converted warehouse. It was the deadliest structural blaze in California since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire.
Our hearts, and those of the entire Bay Area, go out to the families and friends whose loved ones died in the Ghost Ship fire. The Dolan Law Firm represents several parents/guardians that lost their sons or daughters in in the tragedy.
Important Notice: June 2, 2017 Is The Deadline To File Claims Against City, County and State
Under California law, a person bringing a lawsuit for death, injury or property loss against the government must first file an “administrative claim” with the government office or agency within six months of the death, injury or property loss. Failure to file this claim can bar the person from filing a lawsuit against the government.
As a result, June 2, 2017, constitutes the deadline for both families who lost love ones and persons injured in the Ghost Ship fire to submit their claims to the City of Oakland, County of Alameda and State of California. There are some exceptions which may permit parties to file late claims but you should not count on being given such relief and should act promptly.
Claims have been filed against a number of private parties including the owner of the building, the master tenant, PG&E, electricians and others who worked on the infrastructure, the property managers, etc. The statute of limitations for joining the lawsuit is 2 years for private defendants. A copy of the complaint can be found here.
Strong evidence and legal claims exist, we believe, to bring lawsuits against the private party defendants and the City of Oakland, County of Alameda and State of California for their roles in Ghost Ship tragedy. On behalf of our clients, we have filed administrative claims against all three entities and intend to file lawsuits against them. Our firm serves on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee which is charged with directing the litigation for the plaintiffs. Attorney Chris Dolan has undertake the bulk of the research and drafting of the claims and parts of the complaint addressing the liability of the City of Oakland and PG&E.
For no charge and without any obligation on your part, we will advise you of your legal rights and applicable deadlines for bringing a lawsuit. Our communications are strictly confidential. If you chose to retain our law firm, we work on a contingency fee meaning we receive no payment, and you incur no expense, unless and until we achieve a monetary recovery on your behalf.
Additional Important Information Related to the June 2, 2017 Deadline
Each plaintiff (a person or entity filing a lawsuit) must file an administrative claim against all three public entities. In other words, filing a claim with the City of Oakland does not count as also filing a claim against Alameda County or the State.
As a resource for the families and survivors of the fire, below are links to the relevant administrative claims forms. We highly recommend, however, that you contact us to discuss the timely and proper filing of these claims forms. We will advise you for no charge or obligation.
City of Oakland Ghost Ship Individual Claim Form – must be completed by individual claimants. Submit by June 2, 2017, to the attorney in the Ghost Ship fire litigation for the City of Oakland: Raymond Marshall, Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton LLP, Four Embarcadero Center, Seventeenth Floor, San Francisco, CA 94111. Please send your original claim form, plus one copy, with a self-addressed, postage pre-paid envelope to receive a returned acknowledgement of receipt of the claim form. The claim form may be submitted in person, U.S. mail or equivalent service (FedEx, etc.).
City of Oakland Master Claim in Ghost Ship Fire Litigation – This document is referred to in the individual claim form for the City of Oakland (above).
Alameda County Ghost Ship Individual Claim Form – must be completed by individual claimants. Submit by June 2, 2017, to Clerk, Board of Supervisors Office, Administration Building, 1221 Oak Street, Room 536, Oakland, CA 94612. Please send your original claim form, plus one copy, with a self-addressed, postage pre-paid envelope to receive a returned acknowledgement of receipt of the claim form. The claim form may be submitted in person, U.S. mail or equivalent service (FedEx, etc.).
Alameda County Master Claim in Ghost Ship Fire Litigation – This document is referred to in the individual claim form for Alameda County (above).
State of California Government Claims Form – The original and two complete copies of the claim form should be mailed by June 2, 2017, to P.O. Box 989052, MS 414, West Sacramento, CA 95798-9052. A $25 filing fee is required for all claims submitted to the State of California. If you have questions regarding the State of California Government Claims Program, visit the program website or contact the program toll-free at (800) 955-0045.
Ghost Ship Lawsuit News: Master Complaint Filed
On May 16, 2017, on behalf of many of the families of the victims, counsel filed a Master Complaint in the Ghost Ship Fire Litigation. The Dolan Law Firm serves on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee which oversees the litigation for the families and injured persons.
The legal claims set forth in the master complaint include claims for negligence, premises liability, strict liability, negligent infliction of emotional distress and other eagle theories.
Specific to PG&E, plaintiffs allege that PG&E owed a duty to exercise the utmost care and diligence in maintaining and operating electrical equipment that supplied power to the Ghost Ship and adjoining structures. PG&E allegedly breached its duty by failing to exercise care in their operation and maintenance of said electrical equipment, including, but not limited to, failing to properly monitor and inspect the electrical equipment, failing to properly repair the electrical equipment and failing to comply with applicable safety standards.
This will be long and costly ligation and the outcome is far from certain. Having a reputable firm with significant resources is extremely important. One thing you can be sure of is that the Dolan Law Firm will fight in memory of the deceased until every measure of justice has been achieved.