Richmond Prepares To Lawyer Up After Chevron Refinery Fire

City moves to hire high-profile SF law firm.

By Chris Roberts
|  Thursday, May 9, 2013  |  Updated 1:07 PM PDT
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RICHMOND, CA - JANUARY 25: A car drives past the Chevron refinery on January 25, 2011 in Richmond, California. A fire at the refinery on August 6, 2012, resulted in noxious smoke that sent up to 15,000 area residents to hospitals. The city of Richmond is close to hiring a high-profile law firm to secure damages from the oil company.

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There will be damages. But will there be litigation?

City officials are poised to lawyer up and "secure damages" from Chevron Corp. for the Aug. 6 fire at the oil giant's Richmond refinery, according to the Contra Costa Times.

The refinery fire spewed noxious black smoke into the area and sent 15,000 residents to area hospitals.

The city has announced plans to retain high-profile San Francisco law firm Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy to represent it in action against Chevron, the newspaper reported. That firm has handled "200 cases" for victims of the 2010 San Bruno explosion and fire filed against PG&E.

It's an "aggressive stance" against the city's biggest taxpayer -- but the city wants to be sure it can collect damages. Whether it goes to court or not remains to be seen.

"We have an obligation to get fair compensation," Councilman Tom Butt told the newspaper. "If that ultimately involves litigation, then it does."

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