A class action lawsuit has been filed against Southern California Edison,
alleging the utility company sparked one of the largest wildfires in the
state’s modern history. Nine plaintiffs, who jointly filed the suit
in December, claimed SoCal Edison’s negligence resulted in the
Thomas Fire, which ignited in the evening hours of December 6, 2017.
According to the lawsuit, the utility displayed negligence by performing
construction near a facility in “an unsafe manner,” which
caused vegetation to be set ablaze. Furthermore, SoCal Edison also failed
to “maintain its overhead electric and communications facilities
in a safe manner,” and failed to remove trees or vegetation around
its utility poles.
The lawsuit also names the city of Ventura and the Casitas Municipal Water
District as defendants for failing to have working generators on hand
that could have aided with water pressure. Not having working generators
prevented needed water pressure from being supplied to the fire hydrants
located along the hillside neighborhoods and canyons of the city.
The monetary damages being sought are unspecified.
In early December, Cal Fire investigators said they were looking into whether
SoCal Edison’s equipment was the potential origin for not just the
Thomas Fire, but other fires that erupted throughout the state. The investigation
into the utility company marked the second in the state of a utility in 2017.
The massive wildfire burned about 281,893 acres and wasn’t fully
contained until January 12. By December 22, the Thomas Fire had cost over
$177 million to combat, forced more than 104,607 residents to evacuate,
destroyed at least 1,063 structures, and damaged 280 others. It is considered
the seventh-most destructive wildfire in California’s history.
In such cases, victims or their families may choose to file individual
lawsuits or band together and file a class action lawsuit, depending on
the nature and circumstances of the damage, as well as the extent of the
loss. An experienced
civil litigation attorney will be able to advise victims and their families in regard to
their legal rights and options. In order to ensure you are doing the right
thing and working towards a maximized recovery, you should team up with
our Southern California attorneys of
Schimmel & Parks, APLC.
For more information,
contact us as soon as you are ready to file your Thomas Fire damage claim.