CALIFORNIA, May 26, 2021 Tribeca Lawsuit Loans announced today that it has established a fund to pay advances on the claims filed with the Fire Victim Trust by victims of the devastating Camp, Butte, Paradise, and North Bay wildfires in Northern California that leveled whole towns and left thousands homeless.
In 2018, equipment owned by the power provider PG&E sparked the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. The Camp Fire destroyed 154,000 acres, took the lives of 85 people, ravaged 20,000 homes, businesses and other structures, and forced evacuation of 52,000 residents. Damage was estimated at $16.65 billion, making it the world’s most expensive disaster in 2018.
The Camp Fire was not the first time PG&E’s equipment was responsible for massive fires in Northern California. Defective and aging electric transmission equipment coupled with extremely dry conditions are said to have caused the 2015 Butte Fire and the 2017 North Bay Wildfires as well. Altogether, the devastation affected more than 70,000 people.
To manage the influx of claims, just weeks after the Camp Fire was contained, PG&E filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition. That case resulted in a settlement approved by the victims that is designed eventually to make available billions of dollars to compensate them for their losses.
As a condition of settlement, PG&E set up a trust to administer the claims.
According to officials, the Fire Victim Trust has been slow to process the 250,000 individual claims it received prior to the February 2021 deadline, in part because of the sheer size of the settlement and the amount of effort necessary to put together the infrastructure necessary to pay the claims. Almost a year after it was established, and beginning with the 2015 Butte Fire losses, the Trust is slowly beginning to review and evaluate each claim for loss of life and bodily injury, personal and real property damage, loss of business income, and other damages. As a result, thus far the vast majority of claimants have been left in the cold, sometimes literally. While they await action on their requests, many have been forced to live in FEMA trailers if they’re lucky, or in hotels, with friends or relatives, and sometimes in their cars.
Because of the structure of the settlement, claimants may not receive 100 percent of their claimed amounts. As is customary in bankruptcy case settlements, claimants will receive a pro rata share of their claims. The final amount will depend on the total of the individual claims as compared with the total settlement fund, which is based in part on the fluctuating value of PG&E stock that funds half the Trust. The few claims that have been processed so far have been paid only 30 percent of the amount requested by claimants. Once all claims have been processed, the Trust will be able to determine their final value.
To date, the Trust has disbursed just $7 million, less than 1/10 of one percent of the approximately $13.7 billion to be set aside to pay these claims. Yet, in the latter half of 2020 the Trust paid out more than $50 million in administrative costs including payments to the trustee and administrators, claims handlers, legal and accounting fees, and more. And those costs will certainly rise. According to Trust officials, it could take more than two years to process all the claims.
“It’s an untenable situation,” says Candice Payrovi, COO of Tribeca. “These people have been waiting for years to learn if PG&E will honor their claims so that they can be compensated for their tragic losses and rebuild their homes and their lives. That’s why we decided to help.”
Payrovi explains that his company, which specializes in providing pre-settlement funding in personal injury litigation, is uniquely situated to help wildfire victims. “We do this every day for people who file lawsuits over auto accidents, employment discrimination, and other types of personal injury. The process for helping the PG&E claimants is much the same. As a result, we’re able to process their application in days instead of the months it’s taking the Trust to do the same thing.”
“Tribeca is able to take on the burden of the Trust’s logjam. Our clients will receive payment on their claims without having to wait for the Trust to act.” The uncertainty of payment, especially when the trust will approve their claims and the ultimate amount, they will receive has added insult to the injury the wildfire victims already suffered when they lost their homes, businesses, and even loved ones. Payrovi explains that taking advantage of Tribeca’s litigation funding mechanism can reduce that unpredictability and give them a chance to start rebuilding their lives and their property now rather than forcing them to wait months or even years longer.
Victims of the Butte, North Bay, and Camp Wildfires can start the process with Tribeca by calling (866) 388-2288 or applying through the website at https://tribecalawsuitloans.com/. All they will need to get started is their Fire Victim Trust claim form and proof of damages.
Tribeca Lawsuit Loans has ten years’ experience helping personal injury plaintiffs liquidate their claims when they need the money. Tribeca uses its extensive experience to help individuals turn litigation into cash they can use for everyday expenses, like rent and food, or in this case, payments to help them rebuild or purchase a home.
This is a non-recourse transaction. That means that the payment is an advance on the claim the fire victim has already made with the Fire Victim Fund. In return for the advance, the claimant assigns an interest in the claim to Tribeca, who is repaid out of the proceeds of the claim. If for some reason the Trust does not approve the claim or approves it for less than the fire victim requested, Tribeca will never ask the claimant to reimburse the advanced funds out of pocket. On the other hand, the claimant retains control of the claim and any proceeds paid by the Trust above the funds advanced by Tribeca. That way, claimants gain access to their liquidated claim now rather than months or years from now, and never have to worry that they will be hounded for repayment even after the money is spent.
If you have filed a claim with the PG&E Fire Victim Trust for damages you sustained in the 2015 Butte Fire, the 2017 North Bay Wildfires, or the 2018 Camp Fire, and you are not willing to wait the months or years it could take for the claim to wind its way through the court-imposed Trust bureaucracy, contact Candice Payrovi at Tribeca lawsuit Loans at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if you qualify for an immediate advance.
SOURCE Tribeca Capital Group, LLC