Oakland and the local utility district have been accused of negligence in class-action claims seeking $2 billion in damages for victims of the devastating Oct. 20 fire.
In the claim against the city, Richard E. Brown, a partner of attorney Melvin Belli, contended that firefighters failed to take necessary precautions to ensure that a smaller grass fire that started the day before was extinguished.
A hot spot in the earlier blaze flared up, resulting in an inferno in which 25 people died and more than 3,000 homes and apartments were destroyed.
The East Bay Municipal Utility District was accused in the second claim of ignoring recommendations from a 1981 blue-ribbon panel, which warned that water pressure could fail in a fire emergency. The panel had called for the creation of a backup power system for water delivery.