“We did everything humanly possible to help those people recover,” she said. It is natural to demand (payment) for the damage caused.”
The companies may not have actually received the amounts they claimed, and any discussion of the payments could go back before U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Dennis Montari, Yanni told The Press Democrat.
Yanny, a longtime mediator and “special master” of large corporate litigation settlements, compared the amount the companies were claiming to the original offer in mediation.
“Somebody goes into mediation and puts out a demand,” she said. “That’s where mediation begins. And it goes back and forth until the other side makes an offer and hopefully comes to an agreement. .”
However, even if a claim is brought to court in a protracted dispute, the Trust must retain the amount claimed until the matter is resolved. Their life several years after the fire.
The Trust must reserve all claims. That’s because the three companies, along with a handful of public agencies and a handful of law-savvy individual fire victims, lost the “judicial review” that all other fire victims lost when they voted to accept the verdict. because he had the right to receive handle.
If a victim makes a complaint, the Trust will review it and make an offer. Those who believe the offer is unfair have limited recourse. The claimant may ask for a second offer.
The bankruptcy agreement then provides that the last available avenue is to appeal the trust decision to a designated arbitrator. However, the trust administrator ultimately decides whether to accept or reject the arbitrator’s award.
Yanni said he takes third-party recommendations very seriously, but some people are unhappy with the process.
In contrast, judicial review allows a small number of plaintiffs to challenge the trust’s final offer in court. Until that process is resolved, the Trust must retain her 100% of the party’s claims, even though other victims are currently being paid at her 45% rate.
Tom Tosdall, a veteran Southern California fire litigation attorney who represents 1,047 clients in the Camp, Atlas and Redwood Valley fires and has made claims against the Trust, said the company’s claims could be made by other victims. said it could significantly delay the
“Frankly, I don’t think it will be negotiated.
Nine companies and government agencies and five individual fire victims, including two married couples, fought in court to defend their right to sue.
In court filings, the companies argued that it was “totally illegal” to work with Butte County public agencies and deny them the right to judicial review.
“They fought it, they claimed it, they got the carveout,” said Tosdal.
Montali conceded the company’s objections, but later dismissed a complaint from another fire victim, Will Abrams, calling for judicial review to be more broadly applied to victims.
“Judicial review offers a handful of victims huge financial bargaining chips,” Abrams told Press Democrats in October.
Victim and activist Abrams, who has pursued a largely unsuccessful legal effort to make the bankruptcy court process more transparent, last week asked Montari to step down. I have filed a motion to seek.
Abrams said Montari had the “appearance” of a conflict of interest because he appeared to have personal ties to some of the people who had successfully secured judicial review.
According to legal experts, a conflict of interest depends on the closeness of the relationship between the judge and the parties or attorneys. Acquaintances alone aren’t usually enough to fill the bar, especially in a tight-knit legal community, but close friendships are possible.
Montali has not yet responded to the allegations listed in court records on November 17.
Debra Glassgreen, one of those who secured judicial review, played a key role in PG&E’s bankruptcy after claiming she was a victim of personal bankruptcy and buying the company’s insurance claims at a low price. He has also acted as an attorney for the Baupost Group, a hedge fund. price. Financial analysts say Baupost made a sizable profit from its bankruptcy maneuvers.
A strong, long-time bankruptcy attorney, Grassgreen was part of the committee that hosted the event Montari attended for the American Bankruptcy Association in 2005. He also served on a five-member committee on bankruptcy law.
She did not respond to a request for comment.
You can contact Staff Writer Andrew Graham at 707-526-8667 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter @Andrew Graham88
You can contact In Your Corner columnist Marisa Endicott at 707-521-5470 or email@example.com. On Twitter @InYourCornerTPD and Facebook @InYourCornerTPD.