What impact did the bankruptcy have on my state court lawsuit?
When PG&E filed for bankruptcy, an “automatic stay,” or hold, was placed on all pending litigation against PG&E, including the lawsuits Camp Fire Trial Lawyers filed on behalf of hundreds of Camp Fire victims. Those claims will not proceed unless and until the bankruptcy court gives permission. This does not mean that the people impacted by the Camp Fire have lost their day in court. All fire victims claims will not be resolved in PG&E’s bankruptcy case.
Do I still have a claim against PG&E for my fire-related losses?
Yes. You still have a claim despite PG&E’s filing for bankruptcy. All claims against PG&E for fire-related damages will now be part of the company’s bankruptcy proceedings. If you suffered losses related to the Camp Fire and have not yet spoken to a lawyer or filed a claim, you still may do so. There is no class action pending, so each person or family affected must file a separate claim.
When do I need to file my bankruptcy claim?
All fire victims must file their bankruptcy claim by the court-ordered deadline (or “claim bar date”) of October 21, 2019. If you do not file your claim by this date, you will waive any right to obtain damages from PG&E for your fire-related losses.
Does PG&E’s bankruptcy mean they have no money?
No. Under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, PG&E will be operating as usual, but they must provide a reorganization plan to the bankruptcy court to pay back its debts and obligations, including fire victims’ claims.
Does PG&E have enough money to pay my claim in full?
It’s too soon to tell. Once we see PG&E’s financial information, we will know more about their ability to fully compensate individuals and families impacted by the 2018 Camp Fire.
What is my role in bankruptcy court?
All fire victims are now considered “creditors” to PG&E in bankruptcy court. As a creditor, a fire victim is entitled to receive notice of any important proposed actions in the bankruptcy case. Creditors are also entitled to vote on any proposed plan for PG&E to pay its debts.
Do I need to refile my lawsuit in bankruptcy court?
No. You do not need to file a lawsuit in bankruptcy court. However, all fire victims have to fire a bankruptcy claim by the court-ordered deadline of October 21, 2019, or you will waive your right to recover money damages from PG&E for your fire-related losses.
If you are currently a Camp Fire Trial Lawyers client, we will file your bankruptcy claim for you. If you or someone you know has not yet hired a lawyer to help you with your bankruptcy claim, please contact us to today for a free legal consultation.
Who is representing fire victims’ interests in bankruptcy court?
The U.S. Trustee set up a creditor’s committee of fire victims only to represent the interests of all fire victims involved in PG&E’s bankruptcy. This fire victim’s creditor’s committee is called the Tort Claimant’s Committee, or the “TCC.”
The TCC consists of 11 court-appointed fire victims from various fires, including the 2015 Butte Fire, the Ghostship Fire, the 2017 North Bay Fires, and the 2018 Camp Fire. All TCC members have a fiduciary duty to all fire victims, regardless of what fire caused them harm personally.
One TCC member is retired Chief of Police of Chico and Oroville, Kirk Trostle, who is also Camp Fire Trial Lawyers client. Retired Chief Trostle and Camp Fire Trial Lawyers have been working tirelessly since his appointment to the TCC in February 2019 to protect the rights of all fire victims during in this bankruptcy process.
What power does the TCC have?
The TCC has the power to inquire into PG&E’s operations, demand justification for PG&E’s bankruptcy filing, hire bankruptcy counsel and financial advisors, investigate PG&E’s financial condition and operations, form corporate policy and contribute to PG&E’s reorganization plan.
What is the bankruptcy process?
A Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a two step process. First, the TCC, fire victims and their counsel will work with financial advisors to “estimate” the total value of all fire victims claims. During this process, PG&E and its lawyers will try also attempt to “estimate” the total of all fire victims claims at a much lesser value.
Second, after the disputes over the value of fire claims has been resolved, a certain amount of monies will be assigned to compensate all fire victims and placed into a trust as part of PG&E’s reorganization plan. Then, fire victims and their lawyers will work with the administrator of the trust to determine the appropriate amount of damages to be awarded to each fire victim.
Will it take longer to resolve my claim now?
Now that PG&E has filed for bankruptcy, there are additional steps lawyers for the victims will need to take to pursue justice and seek compensation. Those steps will likely take more time, but the Camp Fire Trial Lawyers do not plan to back down.