After Negligence Leads to Second Fire in Same Apartment Building, Pierce Bainbridge and Geragos & Geragos Hits L.A. Real Estate Giant with Class Action

February 1, 2020 GMT
(PRNewsfoto/Pierce Bainbridge)
(PRNewsfoto/Pierce Bainbridge)

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 31, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Last week’s terrifying fire at a Westside Los Angeles apartment building has led to swift legal action by the building’s residents. Attorneys for the residents of Barrington Plaza Apartments, led by tenant Charles Agozino, have filed a class action lawsuit against the building’s owner, Douglas Emmett Inc. (NYSE: DEI), for its negligence in failing to adequately protect residents from a blaze that engulfed the building’s sixth and seventh floors. The fire, the building’s second in less than eight years, shined a harsh light on the landlord’s failure to improve fire safety in the building.

The damage and injuries from the fire, which injured at least 13, endangered first responders and required trapped residents to be airlifted to safety, were exacerbated by Barrington Plaza’s lack of adequate fire prevention systems. The building lacks a sprinkler system, serviceable alarms, and usable fire exits. Residents have pleaded with Douglas Emmett Inc. for years to improve fire safety measures, particularly after a previous blaze on October 18, 2013 highlighted the building’s inadequate fire safety system. Still the building owners have taken no action.

“There is only one word I can offer Douglas Emmett, Inc following another devastating fire that was exacerbated by their inaction: shameful,” said Brian Dunne. Co-lead counsel for the building’s residents and a partner at Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP. “This is a multi-billion dollar, publicly traded company that for years, knew of the danger it was placing its tenants in – in fact, it had evidence of the danger in the form of a previous fire – but did nothing. It is essentially saying that human life is not worth the relatively small cost of basic fire prevention. That is both sad and unacceptable, and we hope to finally set things right with this legal action.”

Dunne, and his Pierce Bainbridge colleague, Daniel Dubin, are joined by Ben Meiselas of Geragos & Geragos in filing the lawsuit. Dunne and Meiselas are available for interviews on this case and the years of negligence by Barrington Plaza’s owners that led to the latest fire.

The Barrington Plaza fire has also revived calls from City officials to require sprinkler systems to be retrofitted into buildings more than 50-years-old.

The case, filed in California Superior Court, is Charles Agozino v. Douglas Emmett Inc., Case No. 20STCV03962

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SOURCE Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP