Friday, October 26, 2007
Malibu Courthouse May Reopen Monday, Court Says
LACBA to Provide Free Legal Aid to Wildfire Victims
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Los Angeles Superior Court said yesterday that its Malibu courthouse remains closed as a result of wildfires and road closures in the area, but that it hopes to reopen the courthouse on Monday..
A spokesperson for the court told the MetNews that the court is currently evaluating the status of the Malibu courthouse, located at 23525 W. Civic Center Way, and said that it would issue an announcement today as to the timeline for reopening.
She said the court would also post the announcement on its website, www.lasuperiorcourt.org.
The court indicated that the wildfires had not affected operations at any other courthouses, and said that all matters that had been scheduled to be heard this week at the Malibu courthouse would be put over one week.
In related news, the Los Angeles County Bar Association announced yesterday that its Lawyer Referral and Information Service will provide wildfire victims with free referrals to experienced attorneys and legal services agencies.
The association will waive the service’s normal referral fee for wildfire victims in need of legal assistance, and attorneys in the program will provide the first 30 minutes of consultation free of charge.
Pointing out that people often feel overwhelmed when they realize the legal issues they face as the result of a disaster, the association said that it was offering the service in order to avoid the exploitation of vulnerable victims by scam-artists and frauds, including “cappers” – attorneys who solicit clients at the scene of an accident or other disaster in violation of California law.
Fire victims may contact the service by phone at (213) 243-1525, Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and speak to a bilingual interviewer who will refer them to an attorney or legal services agency. After-hours callers who leave a message will receive a return call the next business day.
Referrals and information for disaster victims are also available online at www.smartlaw.org.
The service consists of a network of more than 500 attorneys throughout Los Angeles County, specializing in 162 different areas of the law including disaster insurance recovery. The association operates the service as a public service, matching people with qualified lawyers experienced in the areas of their legal needs.
The service was established in 1937, and is the oldest and largest such service in the United States, LACBA said in a release.
Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company