Freeway Complex Fire Legal Claim! Ding-Ding-Ding! Freeway Complex Fire Legal Claim!

fire2.jpgYou just knew this had to be coming: a legal claim filed against the city of Yorba Linda by a couple who lost their home in Hidden Hills Estates during last month's Freeway Complex Fire. Under the advice of their attorneys, cities generally reject such claims and then a lawsuit is filed.

Paul and Gillian Johnson's claim, which seeks "special damages in excess of $1.8 million" in addition to general damages to be determined, alleges the city and Yorba Linda Water District, which is also named in the action, did not ensure there was enough water service and pressure in a hydrant firefighters tried to tap into Nov. 18 across the street from their Green Mount Place home (which is NOT the pad pictured).

The city and water district also failed to properly maintain adjacent slopes and hillside where embers from burning brush caused the total loss of their home and 18 others nearby, the claim alleges. "[T]he city of Yorba Linda had previously told Hidden Hills Estates homeowners it would no longer be watering slopes adjacent to their homes and threatened fines for those homeowners who did." The Johnsons had been regularly dousing the slopes adjacent to their home before being ordered to stop, the claim alleges.

If that's true, no wonder they're suing. But cue the violins for this portion of a press release from the couple's Santa Ana-based lawyers, Eric V. Traut of the Traut Firm and Geraldine Ly of Real, Hernandez & Ly ...
"The claimants, Paul & Gillian Johnson, not only lost their dream home, but irreplaceable heirlooms that were past [sic] onto them by their deceased family members from their native country. Because they were out of town, the Johnsons were unable to retrieve any items, such as photographs which span several generations; personal documents, including birth certificates from their native country; computers and related files pertaining to their personal and business finances; valuables such as jewelry, clothing, household effects; and innumerable lost personal items that have significant sentimental value."

Question: How much is sentimental value worth?

Answer: In excess of $1.8 million, apparently.

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