22 lawsuits - and counting - filed against owners of Redwood City building gutted by fire devastating CPM clients

San Jose Mercury News

Lawsuits against the owners of a Redwood City apartment building destroyed in a six-alarm fire last month are piling up, with 22 filed on behalf of former tenants so far and the lawyer handling the cases ready to submit more.

The July 7 blaze at the 72-unit Hallmark House apartments at 531 Woodside Road displaced 97 residents and killed one tenant -- 48-year-old Darin Michael Demello-Pine. Though the cause is still under investigation, Redwood City fire officials said the blaze appeared to have started in Demello-Pine's third-floor apartment.

Attorney Ara Jabagchourian of the Burlingame law firm Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy has filed all of the lawsuits against the building's owner, KDF Hallmark, L.P., and said at least six more are on the way.

The complaints, filed in San Mateo County Superior Court, each state that the plaintiffs "suffered displacement, fear, emotional trauma, and the loss of most of their life's possessions" because of the fire. KDF was negligent in keeping the units safe, the suits claim, citing among concerns the lack of a sprinkler system, Jabagchourian said. A sprinkler system wasn't required by state law in the old building... (To read the entire article, please click HERE)

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