SAN DIEGO (Sept. 13, 2018) – Marking a two-time victory for San Diego-based defense firm Tyson & Mendes, a San Diego appellate court upheld on Sept. 11 a judgment in favor of Carlsbad’s Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, which was being blamed for the devastating 2014 Poinsettia fire.
The ruling in Axis Insurance Company v. Omni Hotels Management was upheld in a 2-1 decision by a three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal.
Tyson & Mendes attorneys Susan Oliver, Dana Furman and Jessica Heppenstall were able to prove the plaintiff, Axis Insurance, did not have evidence that Omni Hotels caused the massive and unrelenting wildfire.
“We care deeply for everyone whose lives were impacted by this wildfire. However, this ruling further vindicates our client was not to blame. Plaintiff simply could not meet its burden to show Omni caused the fire,” Oliver said. “Reaffirming our original summary judgment win, the court affirmed judgment in favor of Omni – where plaintiffs were claiming over $125 million in damages.”
Tyson & Mendes originally won a motion for summary judgment on behalf of Omni in a case brought four years ago. The initial suit, filed in October 2014, included several plaintiffs. Last year, San Diego Superior Court Judge Joan Lewis entered judgment in favor of Omni Hotels – Axis then appealed on behalf of a local business owner.
Ultimately causing major damage to neighboring commercial and residential properties, the Poinsettia fire started mid-morning May 14, 2014, and is believed to have started in native vegetation near a concrete golf cart path close to the seventh fairway of the Omni Resort’s golf course.
“Despite Omni’s efforts to suppress the fire, it was fueled by hot, dry Santa Ana winds and spread across hundreds of acres of property in Carlsbad – including property insured by Atlas,” Furman said. “It was an unfortunate act of nature and all parties involved deeply regret the damage this wildfire caused.”
About Tyson & Mendes LLP
Headquartered in San Diego with offices throughout the country, Tyson & Mendes LLP is an AV-rated litigation firm specializing in insurance defense. Firm principals Robert Tyson and Patrick Mendes, seasoned trial attorneys who collectively have a nearly 50-year background, have grown the firm to more than 130 attorneys defending corporations, insurance companies, and their clients in civil litigation matters throughout California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Washington and Florida. The firm is most widely recognized for winning the landmark Howell v. Hamilton Meats California Supreme Court case on the “billed vs. paid” medical damages issue, which forever changed the state’s litigation landscape by significantly impacting the damages a plaintiff may recover. Visit www.tysonmendes.com.