Porter Ranch Residents and Businesses Seek Restitution in Appellate Court Hearing Set for January 25, 2018

Lancaster, California, UNITED STATES


LOS ANGELES, Jan. 22, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On October 23, 2015, Southern California Gas Company failed to warn people in Porter Ranch and adjacent communities that they were being exposed to the worst methane gas blowout in American history.  “Make no mistake, Southern California Gas should pay restitution to the victims of this crime,” said PARRIS Law Firm attorney R. Rex Parris.

The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office filed misdemeanor criminal charges against Southern California Gas Company for this crime and then allowed them to plead no contest to one of the charges, with dismissal of the other charges. On November 29, 2016, the sentencing court denied the victims’ request for restitution and thus stripped away the rights to restitution of more than 7,500 victims of the massive gas blowout as guaranteed by the California Constitution.

“When the court handed down its ruling, the court misinterpreted the law. That is why Parris Law sought assistance from former appellate court justice, Margaret Grignon, to appeal that decision,” said former District Attorney Steve Cooley. “It would be unjust and unfair if the victims’ rights were ignored simply because perceived complexity and difficulty of securing restitution for thousands of victims of this mass crime,” added Panish Shea & Boyle attorney Brian Panish.

Article I, section 28, of the California Constitution, states that “all persons who suffer losses as a result of criminal activity shall have the right to seek and secure restitution from the persons convicted of the crimes causing the losses they suffer.” “So many victims lost their health, ability to work, and income. Recent air quality reports document that we’re still being poisoned,” said Matt Pakucko with Save Porter Ranch.

Demetrius Crump, one of the lead plaintiffs on the Restitution Appeal, knows firsthand the impact of the poisonous gases. “Shortly before the blowout, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer and my treatment made me very sensitive to the gases,” said Crump. “During those three days, my health went downhill fast,” Crump added.

On January 25, 2018, the appellate panel for the Los Angeles Superior Court will hear the Victim’s request for restitution stemming from the three days Southern California Gas Company failed to report the gas well blowout. The lead attorneys on the appeal are former appellate court justice Margaret Grignon and a former deputy district attorney, Brentford Ferreira.  The restitution appeal hearing presents the question as to whether victims of mass crimes will obtain restitution for the victims as assured by the California Constitution. 

Hearing Details

Date:           January 25, 2018
Time:          9:00 a.m.
Location:     Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Room 615, 111 N. Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

A copy of the Appellants Opening Brief can be found here.
A copy of the Brief of Respondent can be found here.
A copy of the Respondent Brief can be found here.
A copy of the Appellants Reply Brief can be found here.

About Margaret Grignon
Grignon has over 40 years of experience and specializes in appellate law. She was named one of the Top Women lawyers in California in 2010, 2013, and 2015. She is highly regarded as a mediator, arbitrator, and settlement judge. She is an expert in a wide variety of practice areas, including personal injury. For more information, please visit www.grignonlawfirm.com.

About Steve Cooley
A three-term elected Los Angeles District Attorney, Cooley has over four decades of experience in the criminal justice system. Now in private practice, he and his associates are dedicated to securing justice for victims.  Each person he works with gets their own personal attention, and he uses resources from all across the nation to help his clients succeed. For more information, please visit www.stevecooley.com.

About Panish Shea & Boyle LLP
Panish Shea & Boyle LLP is a plaintiff's personal injury law firm that takes on large corporations and government entities whose negligence causes our clients' injuries, and holds them accountable. In June 2014, Panish Shea & Boyle obtained at $19.8 million jury verdict to a man who suffered severe burn and traumatic brain injuries when his rental home exploded as a result of a Southern California Gas Company's negligence. In 2008, the firm obtained a $15 million jury verdict against SoCalGas for a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a company truck. Panish Shea & Boyle LLP also represented numerous plaintiffs in the San Bruno PG&E gas explosion cases. Our attorneys are and have always been champions of consumer rights. The size, clout or financial strength of wrongdoers is never a deterrent to our pursuit for justice. For more information, visit www.psblaw.com.

About Brentford Ferreira
Ferreira has spent his career fighting for the innocent who are wrongly convicted, and continues to litigate multifaceted cases today. He was the first prosecutor to receive the Johnnie Cochran Ethics Award from the Criminal Courts Bar Association in 2012. He worked in the Appellate Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, and has over 30 years of experience. For more information, please visit www.brentfordferreira.com.

About PARRIS
For over 30 years, Parris has been devoted to protecting the rights of injured people and aggrieved employees.  Rex and his dedicated team provide thorough, high-quality representation with integrity and compassion.  From motor vehicle crashes to class actions and defective products, these lawyers fight aggressively against corporate defense attorneys and insurance companies to ensure their clients get the compensation they deserve. For more information, please visit www.parrislawyers.com.

Media Contacts:

Steve Cooley (213) 713-7281 steve.cooley@stevecooley.com
Brentford Ferreira (562) 400-8578 bjferreira47@hotmail.com
Patricia Oliver (661) 949-2595 poliver@parrislawyers.com