Today (July 16), the civil case lawsuit stemming from the tragic 2016 Ghost Ship warehouse fire has been settled, as Bay Area CBS affiliate KPIX5 and local news station KRON4 report. The city of Oakland reportedly reached a $32.7 million settlement on behalf of 32 of the 36 people who died in the December 2, 2016 blaze.
According to KRON4, $23.5 million of the settlement funds will be allocated to the families of the victims, while $9.2 million will go to plaintiff Sam Maxwell, who survived the fire but suffered severe injuries. According to reports, the City of Oakland claims that it is not liable for the tragedy, but decided to settle the case due to cost analysis.
Less than a year after the Ghost Ship fire devastated the Oakland DIY scene, two of the venue’s operators—David Almena and Max Harris—were arrested in connection with the blaze. They were charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter, each. Almena and Harris subsequently pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In July 2018, Almena and Harris agreed to a plea deal, which resulted in a sentencing of less than 10 years each after they pleaded no contest.
Last year, Max Harris was acquitted on all charges stemming from the Ghost Ship fire. Derick Almena, meanwhile, was met with a hung jury. The presiding judge declared a mistrial for Almena because the jury was deadlocked 10-2. It was later announced that Almena would be retried on multiple counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Read “After Ghost Ship Fire, Oakland DIY Grapples With a Broken System” on the Pitch.