Girardi | Keese

Los Angeles Personal Injury Law Blog

Ghost Ship Fire Shows Risk-Reward Mentality of the Underground Music Scene

A Q&A with a former nightclub owner


In the aftermath of Oakland's Ghost Ship fire tragedy, many are still looking for answers. We know the warehouse was home to a vibrant underground music scene, a collective that at any given time ranged from resident musicians and artists, who lived there on a semi-permanent basis, to partygoers visiting for the first time on a weekend night.

What outsiders may not realize is that spaces like the Ghost Ship grew out of manufacturing's general decline, which left large vacant mills dotting the urban landscape. Property speculators buy cheap, with visions of rebuilding, redeveloping, and creating vibrant communities not unlike what existed at the Ghost Ship.

But the risk-reward gamble - in which some landlords seem to largely ignore fire code safety and related property concerns - may turn out to be too steep a bet. On condition of anonymity, a former East Coast nightclub owner shed some light on what's at stake.

In the Q&A below, the former nightclub owner brings us back to the Station Night Club fire in Rhode Island, which took place roughly 14 years ago, in 2003.

Let's Oppose Federal Lawmakers' Efforts to Strip Justice From the American People

What's at stake (in a nutshell):

At heart, federal lawmakers are gunning for the civil justice system.


A set of Republican-backed bills currently in debate all favor, in one way or another, the business and insurance industries.

These bills are fundamentally opposed to the rights and interests of any American who is injured (or whose loved one is killed) because of corporate wrongdoing, from dangerous pharmaceutical drugs to defective products. These bills will limit the rights of a seriously injured patient to fair compensation for lifelong injuries (in the form of limits on damages, no matter how bad the injuries are).

Federal lawmakers and the powerful industries that support these bills want Americans to believe that they are "protecting access to care," and that lawyers do nothing but file frivolous lawsuits against deep pockets, and other such falsehoods, but let's call a spade a spade.

The lawmakers and lobbyists are lying to you.

Update: Ghost Ship Fire in Oakland

"Even people who knew the building would have a hard time getting out."

  • Friend of Ghost Ship owners/managers

burning candle.jpg

Since the Ghost Ship fire on Dec. 3, the lawyers of Girardi | Keese have been leading an investigation on behalf of a number of survivors and families of victims who lost their lives. Our investigation has revealed new and damaging information against the Ghost Ship owners/managers, as well as against the city of Oakland for its failure to conduct safety inspections.

Girardi | Keese Supports the International Academy of Trial Lawyers in Its Stand for the Rule of Law and a Strong Independent Judiciary

"The International Academy of Trial Lawyers expressly and unequivocally condemns attacks on the independence of our judiciary and the Rule of Law, two cornerstones of our democracy."

- Richard Burbidge, President

At Girardi | Keese, we wholeheartedly endorse Mr. Burbidge's statement. We've reproduced his statement in full below. Take some time out of your day to read it. Consider echoing your support for the rule of law and a strong independent judiciary.

To be frank, these two cornerstones - judicial independence and the rule of law - transcend politics and ideology. They are a big part of what makes America great, along with the other democratic nations and people of the world who value, uphold and defend them.

Tom Girardi Makes the Super Lawyers Top 10 (Again!)

Top 10: Annual Southern California Super Lawyers List

Tom Girardi, along with nine other California lawyers, made the Top 10 Southern California Super Lawyers list for 2016, which made for a total of 14 years that Mr. Girardi has been selected as a "Super Lawyer" on both Top 10 and Top 100 lists.

Tom Girardi in Times Square

It's not too often that you get your name and likeness put up in lights on the giant screen in Times Square, but that's what happened to Tom Girardi, who was recently honored by the International Association of Top Professionals at the 2016 Annual Award Gala in New York. The image above shows Mr. Girardi on the billboard of the Reuters Building.

California Comes Out Swinging: From Monsanto to Trump

"California is not turning back. Not now, not ever."

- Gov. Jerry Brown in his State of the State address on Jan. 24

There's no shortage of stories in the news about California's take on our current political situation, which, in general, is inextricably tied to a number of legal issues. The Roundup story below has nothing to do with the Trump administration. The second does, of course, and it's about the construction of a border wall in this state.

These stories are loosely related, in that they demonstrate California's stand for individual rights and for the environment.

Employees Face 'Freeze' under Trump Administration

The Trump administration has just instituted a freeze on hiring of federal employees, as the Washington Post reports, with the exception of military service members. This action comes via executive order and is in line with what Trump said he'd do while campaigning, which was "drain the swamp." The Post quotes Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer: "We've got to respect the American taxpayer."

New Year Driving in California: 8 New Laws on the Books for 2017

On Dec. 29, the Los Angeles Times published a run-down of new laws on the books in California. There are dozens. When it comes to driving, drivers, and passengers, the Times lists eight. These run the gamut from child seats to the blood alcohol content of Uber drivers.

Arrest of Compliance Executive Latest Chapter in Volkswagen Emissions Saga

In yet another chapter in the VW emissions saga, the New York Times reports that the FBI has arrested Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt, who was the chief emissions compliance officer for VW in the U.S. Schmidt has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. The Times characterizes Schmidt's arrest as an "escalation" of the criminal investigation against VW.

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The Soto Verdict

Girardi | Keese attorneys have won a $2.3M verdict for a Long Beach resident run over by a Parks & Rec truck. Read more here.

The Madero Verdict

Attorney Christopher T. Aumais persuaded a San Bernardino County jury to deliver an  exceptionally high verdict in an area known for low jury awards.

A Champion of Justice

Partner Amy Fisch Solomon was a Champion of Justice in 2015, proving that success in law isn't just about the size of your verdict or settlement.

Own a VW Diesel?

Read about VW's emissions scandal and 
our class action against the automaker.


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Super Lawyers Distinguished AV | Lexis Nexis | Martindale-Hubbell | Peer Review Rated For Ethical Standards and Legal Ability American Association For Justice Consumer Attorneys Association Of Los Angeles Consumer Attorneys California Supreme Court Icon 7 Icon Best Lawyers | Best Law Firms 2014 | U.S. News American Board of Trial Advocates Law Dragon America's Top 100 Attorneys | Lifetime Achievement Martindale-Hubbell | AV Preeminent | Peer Review Rated For Highest Level of Professional Excellence | 2017