Girardi | Keese

Los Angeles Personal Injury Law Blog

Deadliest Fire in Oakland's History

"After 15 seconds, the power went out, and another 30 seconds later it was completely engulfed. It went so fast."

  • Survivor's quote

UPDATE: On Dec. 8, TIME reported the Ghost Ship as "missing" from the city's fire-inspection lists, making it hard to know when the warehouse was last inspected - if ever - for fire hazards.

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In less than a minute or so, roughly 100 people were caught in a blaze that caused at least 36 deaths in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland, in the early morning hours of Dec. 3, 2016. The fire took place at a show in the Ghost Ship Warehouse.

In the days to follow, there will undoubtedly be those who try to blame the partygoers, artists, and fans of electronic music. 

The investigation is not yet complete, but like the Berkeley balcony collapse in the summer of 2015, the likely cause of many of these deaths was from structure and premises defects, not those who came for the party and to see and hear the performers.

In Berkeley, investigators found a major problem with the balcony's original construction. In Oakland, early reports have revealed that the Ghost Ship suffered from building code violations that evidently went ignored, including a staircase that wasn't a staircase at all, but a makeshift one built of wood pallets.

Jack Girardi Makes OC Weekly's 2016 'Best Of OC' Issue

Attorney-Jack-Girardi.jpgAccording to OC Weekly:

"There are plenty of good trial lawyers in Southern California, but few, if any, are better than John Girardi. The veteran Los Angeles-based Girardi, regularly hailed as a "Super Lawyer," has dominated Orange County's courthouses for more than a decade while specializing in product and government-entity liability, as well as employment law and class actions. He doesn't fit the mold of a stereotypical pushy, obnoxious lawyer eager to find a TV news camera. He's well-prepared and unflappable, even when taking on teams of taxpayer-funded opposing counsel prone to courtroom shenanigans and legal trickery. Police agencies here usually triumph in lawsuits, except when Girardi, whose personality and presentations endear juries, is involved. He has represented decent cops harassed by corrupt bosses in Anaheim and Newport Beach and captured damages and fees topping $7 million. Several years ago, he secured a $4.5 million settlement in a case involving a Trinity Broadcasting Network pastor who left a church meeting heavily intoxicated and caused a serious traffic collision."

The Resume of a 2017 'Man of the Year' (Tom Girardi of Girardi | Keese)

Attorney-Tom-Girardi.jpgTom Girardi, attorney and founder of the Los Angeles law firm Girardi | Keese, is honored to be recognized by the International Association of Top Professionals, an organization dedicated to handpicking the "best of the best" professionals from a variety of fields and bringing them together for networking and recognition.

Mr. Girardi was both "Man of the Year" for 2017 and a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, Mr. Girardi was a Top Attorney of the Year for 2016-2017.

Girardi | Keese Lawyers Go to Bat for Injured Dodgers Fan, Win $475K Verdict

With Girardi | Keese, referring attorneys know that their clients are in the right hands.


In 2014, Girardi | Keese attorneys Tom Girardi, Christopher T. Aumais, David Lira, and Nicole DeVanon won a multimillion-dollar jury award for their client, Bryan Stow, after two fans severely beat him at Dodger Stadium. The jury agreed with Girardi | Keese that the Dodgers should not have cut back on security at Dodger Stadium; had they not, Stow likely would not have been so seriously and permanently injured.

In the next Dodger Stadium case, the security itself was the problem.

Q&A with Girardi | Keese Partner David R. Lira on His Experience with Bus Accident Cases

Attorney-David-Lira.jpgFollowing the horrific crash of a tour bus near Palm Springs, Calif., in October, Mr. David R. Lira recently sat down to discuss his extensive experience representing victims of these types of crashes.

The conversation ranged from the bus accident case that sticks out in his mind the most to what makes these cases different from other types of motor vehicle accidents.

Are Americans Turning Their Backs on the NFL?


The Washington Post has spilled a considerable amount of ink recently in covering the NFL. In Sally Jenkins's latest column, she argues, "the NFL is becoming more disturbing than appealing, and TV viewers are tuning out." In another, Kent Babb and Steven Rich write about the NFL's "quietly escalating" problem with fan violence, which often leads to severe injuries and assault charges. In a third, Jenkins tackles NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for suspending New York Giants kicker Josh Brown just one game following a domestic violence charge. Tom Brady, on the other hand, got a four-game suspension "over the amount of air in a football."

Lethal 2015 Plane Crash Due to Pilot, Company Failures

Safety official says the charter company was "infested with sloppiness"

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After a full investigation of the 2015 business jet crash in Akron, Ohio, that killed nine on board, federal investigators say there was a "litany of failures" that led to the fatal accident. The plane crashed two miles short of the Akron airport's runway while returning from a flight to Dayton.

The report, released last month by the National Transportation Safety Board, found a long list of issues with the on-demand charter flight company, Execuflight. The pilots hadn't followed checklists and had violated company landing procedures before the deadly crash on Nov. 10 of last year. Both pilots and seven passengers died.

Worst Tour Bus Crash in 30 Years

Were you or a family member personally involved in this crash? If so, click here to review our three-step plan for getting help.


One of the 'deadliest' in California history

The USA Holiday tour bus was headed back to Los Angeles on Sunday, Oct. 23, in the early morning hours. At that time, many passengers were asleep. They'd spent much of the evening at the Red Earth Casino in Thermal. Desert Hot Springs is where the trip ended, when the bus crashed into the back of a big rig at high speed.

13 people lost their lives and many others were seriously injured. As the Los Angeles Times reports, the crash is among the deadliest in California history.

No One, Certainly Not Apple, Will Force Our Hand in Eliminating Texting While Driving

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In 2013, teenager Ashley Kubiak was in her Dodge Ram truck, speeding down a Texas highway. She was distracted, checking messages on her iPhone. She didn't see the SUV until it was too late, and the crash left the driver and passenger dead, along with a child in the vehicle paralyzed.

Crashes like this prompt a somewhat novel question: Should companies like Apple stop people from using their phones, like checking messages and texting, while behind the wheel?

The technology to do it is out there, but it's not yet being done, and some people want to know why.

Gov. Brown Just Signed a Law That Makes a Big Difference to California Workers

"Choice of Law"


This may sound like a dry topic; it's anything but, especially when your back is up against the wall in an employment dispute. The issue is venue - as in, where disputes get resolved, and how one decides on that location.

In very general terms, legal disputes are resolved where they arose.

But what happens when signing a contract is an explicit condition of employment? And the contract so happens to contain an arbitration clause that requires California employees to resolve disputes outside California?

Talk about inconvenience. You could even use the word injustice.


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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