What's next for the Ghost Ship case? The retrial scenarios and huge pending civil suit

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- While an Oakland jury delivered a split decision Thursday against the defendants in the Ghost Ship warehouse fire trial, the legal battles over this case are far from over. Ghost Ship creative director Max Harris was acquitted on 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter, but jurors failed to reach a decision against his co-defendant and warehouse master tenant Derick Almena.

Here's what's next in this case:

Possible retrial for Derick Almena



A court hearing is already set for October 4th to set a new trial date for Almena, but a lot can happen before then.

If a retrial does happen, it could be several months before it actually begins and possibly not until 2020.

Prosecutors may feel confident with a retrial after polling the jury revealed that 10 of 12 jurors wanted to convict Almena.

TIMELINE: How the investigation into the deadly Ghost Ship inferno unfolded
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Two men were charged for the deaths of 36 people in the Ghost Ship fire, but the investigation put a spotlight on incidents before then that could have prevented the tragedy.



Possible plea deal for Derick Almena



A new trial would be expensive and time consuming and both sides could try to come to a plea agreement to avoid that.

However, that's sounding like an unlikely option.

"There will be no plea deal," Almena's attorney, Tony Serra, told ABC7 News Thursday.

With 10 of 12 jurors voting to convict Almena, prosecutors may feel like they were pretty close to a conviction and may not offer a deal.

A plea agreement was arranged before this latest trial, but a judge threw out that deal however when victim's families protested saying that it was too lenient.

Almena would have been sentenced to 9 years in jail minus time already served under that agreement.

VIDEO: Defense attorney reveals why 3 Ghost Ship jurors were dismissed during deliberations

Huge civil suit to move forward



No matter what happens with the criminal case, a civil suit filed by the families of the Ghost Ship victims is still pending.

It was set for trial in May of 2020 but if another criminal trial occurs it could get pushed back to later in the year.

The suit alleges that PG&E, the warehouse landlord, the city of Oakland and others are all responsible for the deadly fire. If the plaintiffs win - it could result in monetary damages for the families and changes to city policies, such as how inspectors evaluate live-work spaces.

VIDEO: Ghost Ship defense attorneys take aim at city of Oakland

"We do not feel that the results of the criminal case hurt our case in the civil trial at all," said attorney Mary Alexander. "We look forward to proving the case against the city of Oakland."

"The city knew, the police knew, the firemen knew that this place had people living in it. That they were using it like a cabaret, that there were events that were happening and they failed to stop it and to protect the people," said Alexander.

PG&E and city attorneys in the past asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed, but a judge allowed the suit to stand.

Take a look at the latest stories and videos about the Ghost Ship Fire trial.
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