Oakland, Alameda County and California Added As Defendants in Ghost Ship Fire Suit

In a move that was not unexpected, the City of Oakland, Alameda County and the State of California have been added to a mass-tort lawsuit arising out of the Ghost Ship fire. The December 2, 2016 fire in a converted warehouse known as the Ghost Ship claimed the lives of 36 concert-goers and injured scores of others.

The amended lawsuit alleges that city, county and state officials were aware of fire and building code deficiencies in the warehouse and failed to address the problems. Those deficiencies included inadequate means of egress, lack of emergency lighting, lack of an adequate fire alarm system, lack of an effective sprinkler system, and electrical problems.

The original lawsuit was filed weeks after the fire and accused a wide range of parties of responsibility for the fire, including 11 named parties and 200 additional unnamed defendants. Here is a copy of the original 26 page complaint: madden-v-chor-nar-siu-ng

The amended complaint reportedly is up to 179 pages, but was not available from the Alameda County Superior Court at press time. California law requires plaintiffs to file administrative claims with governmental entities before filing suit, hence the reason for the delay in adding Oakland, Alameda County and the state.

Besides the civil suit, the founder of the Ghost Ship, Derick Almena, and his associate Max Harris have been charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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