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.