Rush to Justice? Woolsey Fire Victims Rushed Through Judicial System

By Erik Cooper

No one who has ever suffered a loss wishes to extend their suffering from that loss any longer than absolutely necessary.  While the wheels of justice sometimes turn painfully slow, for victims of the Woolsey Fire, the wheels of justice may actually come off.

On November 9th, 2018, Malibu suffered one of the worst wildfires in our community’s history.  Millions of dollars of destroyed properties were left in its wake, and countless lives have been affected by the federally-declared disaster.

Shortly after the smoke cleared, Woolsey victims assessed damages and hired lawyers to pursue recovery from their losses.  Lawsuits flooded the courthouse with more to follow. The court coordinated all of the cases into one action.

for determination of liability against the defendants, in this case, Southern California Edison Company (SoCal Edison).  Judge William F. Highberger was assigned to the coordinated case.

Since coordination, our wheels of justice have been turning at an expedient rate.  Attorneys have been disqualified , attorneys have bargained for positions to drive the train (as lead counsel), a trial date is set for February 2020, and now, victims face a deadline to submit their claims for damages — AUGUST 25th!

The ashes are barely collected.  Our recovery from this catastrophe has barely begun.  And even though our damages are not yet fully calculated, we are placed on a track to dispose of our claims hardly before the ink has dried on our legal complaints.

What’s the rush?  Sure, Malibu and its residents would like to move on.  But the extraordinary rush to force claims through the judicial system and resolve them, yesterday, seems outrageous.  Expediency has replaced efficiency.  It seems Woolsey Fire victims may soon be railroaded into rushed judgments and forced settlements to move this thing along for…what good reason?

No after-action reports have been prepared. Investigations are not yet complete. The facts remain undetermined. But here we go!  So hold on.

Continue to follow our FireWire coverage of up to the minute news and information to help Woolsey Fire victims recover from this tragic event.

Cece Woods

The Current Report Editor in Chief Cece Woods started The Local Malibu, an activism based platform in 2014. The publication was instrumental in the success of pro-preservation ballot measures and seating five top vote-getters in the Malibu City Council elections.

During the summer of 2018, Woods exposed the two-year law enforcement cover-up in the Malibu Creek State Park Shootings, and a few short months later provided the most comprehensive local news coverage during the Woolsey Fire attracting over one million hits across her social media platforms.

Since 2020, Woods was the only journalist reporting on the on-going public corruption involving former L.A. Metro CEO Phil Washington. Woods worked with Political Corruption expert Adam Loew, DC Watchdog organizations and leaders in the Capitol exposing Washington which ultimately led to the withdrawal of his nomination to head the FAA.

Woods also founded Malibu based 90265 Magazine and Cali Mag devoted to the authentic southern California lifestyle.

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