I spoke with Victor Jacobovitz on Friday to see what the progress is with the potential lawsuit by city spokeswoman Sue Williams.
Jacobovitz said that she hasn’t filed a lawsuit yet because the way it works with a government entity is that the city has to reject a claim before a lawsuit is filed. The city has not yet rejected the claim. Jacobovitz said he is expecting to have some discussions with the city to see if there is some way to resolve the claim.
Jacobovitz is the same lawyer representing Chris Chung, West Covina’s Community Development Director who is demanding $3 million for the alleged hostile environment he was forced to endure while working with Mayor Roger Hernandez, according to the claim.
Jacobovitz said that Williams hasn’t sent a demand yet. “I don’t think Sue’s action would bring in quite as high an amount, because Chris has suffered a quite bit,” Jacobovitz said.
The update with Chung, Jacobovitz said, is that the city has agreed to go to mediation.
And who is Jacobovitz, you ask. Here’s a snipet from the ’80s:
SUIT FILED OVER DEATHS IN PUERTO RICO HOTEL FIRE
Los Angeles attorney Victor Jacobovitz , who filed the suit in federal court this week, said he was appointed to handle the case by a committee that represents the interests of victims of the blaze, which killed 97 people and injured 140 in the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan.
The hotel is owned by a company called Hotel Systems International, based in Santa Monica. Jacobovitz said Hotel Systems is a key defendant in the case, which names a total of 144 defendants.
No one at the company returned calls for comment on the lawsuit Tuesday.
“The defendant list looks like a Who’s Who of American corporations,” Jacobovitz said, noting that along with the hotel owner, the manufacturers of all the materials in the hotel that burned or caused noxious smoke are being sued.
The suit does not specify an exact amount of damages being sought by the victims and their families.
Three men, all members of the Teamsters Union, pleaded guilty in April to federal arson charges. One of the three also pleaded guilty to murder. They are currently serving sentences ranging from 75 to 99 years in prison.
Another man, Hector Escudero Aponte, 35, has confessed to lighting the blaze in the hotel’s ground-floor ballroom moments after a Teamsters’ meeting at which employees voted to strike.
He is scheduled to be tried in San Juan Feb. 3 on 96 counts of first- degree murder.