Bastrop County Complex Fire – Appeal on Behalf of Hundreds of Victims
SDM attorneys Abe Kuczaj and Robyn Hargrove recently won an appeal on behalf of hundreds of victims of a wildfire in Bastrop County. The property owners sued Asplundh Tree Expert Co., alleging that its negligence caused the fire and resulted in devastating losses to nearby property owners. Asplundh sought dismissal of all claims on the basis of the statute of limitations. On appeal, the Austin Court of Appeals held that the property owners’ claims were not barred by the statute of limitations. The court of appeals’ holding was based on the doctrine of American Pipe tolling, which delays running of the statute of limitations during the pendency of a related class action against the same defendant. The court of appeals’ opinion contains one of the most in-depth discussions of American Pipe tolling by a Texas court to date.