Attorneys for the family of Peter Fleurat, a 73-year-old who was one of 20 people killed by the Jan. 9 Montecito mudslide, announced their intent to sue Southern California Edison for Fleurat's wrongful death.
The lawsuit will be formally announced at a press conference in Montecito on Thursday morning; Lalo Barajas, Fleurat's partner of 17 years, also will be speaking at the conference.
Representing Fleurat's family are attorneys Alexander Robertson IV, of Westlake Village; Peter Bezek, of Foley Bezek Behle & Curtis LLP in Santa Barbara; Joseph Liebman of Santa Barbara; and Geoff Spreter of San Diego.
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The attorneys also announced their intent to file lawsuits on behalf of mudslide victims Michael Armand Hammer and Pierre LaFond; the legal team "represents 71 plaintiffs and 32 properties damaged or destroyed in the Montecito debris flow," according to a statement.
The team of attorneys also represents 151 plaintiffs and 68 properties damaged in Ventura County from the Thomas Fire, the statement said.
The attorneys allege that it was SoCal Edison's negligence and faulty equipment that started the Thomas Fire, which in turn created conditions that would enable a mudslide of the scope and scale as happened in Montecito in early January.
Reached for comment, SoCal Edison spokesman David Song wrote in an email that "there is an ongoing investigation by CalFire, and the possible cause and origin of the fire has not yet been determined. We have no further comment at this time."