First Suits Filed in Oakland Ghost Ship Fire

The first lawsuits have been filed in the Oakland Ghost Ship fire, accusing the building owners of negligence and wrongful death.

The December 2, 2016 fire killed 36 attendees of an electronic dance music event at a warehouse named Ghost Ship. Two suits were filed Friday in Alameda County Superior Court by the families of Michela Gregory and Griffin Madden naming Chor Nar Siu Ng individually and as Trustee for the Chor Nar Siu Ng Irrevocable Trust, Eva Ng, Derick Ion Almena, Micah Allison, Daniel Lopez, Omar Vega, John Hrabko, 100% Silk and Joel Shanahan, aka Golden Donna.

The suit does not name the city of Oakland nor any fire officials, but it does allege that at least 5 formal complaints had been made to the city since 2014, including:

  • November 14. 2016: “Illegal interior building structure”
  • November 13, 2016: “There are a ton of garbage piling up on the property on 1305 31st A venue. Also, a lot of items are left on the sidewalk near the property. Some trash was hazardous. This property is a storage but the owner turned it to become trash recycle site. the [sic] yard became a trash collection site and the main building was remodel for residential. The change causes our neighborhood looks very bad and creates health issue.”
  • October 7, 2014: “Constructing house/structure without permits”
  • September 30, 2014: “Pallets, construction materials blocking sidewalk”
  • June 4. 2014: “trash & debris. construction debris. vector issues”

The families have filed civil claims with the city, a necessary predicate to filing suits against municipalities.

Here is a copy of the Madden complaint: madden-v-chor-nar-siu-ng

 

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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