Is PG&E Responsible for the Nuns Fire?

Our attorneys have filed a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of victims of the Nuns Fire and the series of smaller fires that merged with it, alleging that PG&E’s failure to update aging infrastructure and maintain trees near its powerlines caused the destructive conflagrations.

Specifically, the lawsuit says, the Nuns and other fires were ignited when energized electrical distribution lines came in contact with nearby vegetation.

Read a copy of the Nuns Fire Lawsuit.

Nuns Fire survivors may have legal claims to compensation from PG&E for property losses, serious injuries, and other damages. Explore your options and your claims with a trusted fire attorney today, free.

Get a free case review.

Consulting Group finds “Significant Safety Issues” with PG&E Operations, Maintenance

The lawsuit’s allegations reference a 2013 report from an independent consulting group hired to review PG&E’s operations and maintenance expenditures. The report identified several “significant safety issues.”

Allegedly Obsolete Conductors

Among these safety concerns is PG&E’s alleged continued use of small, obsolete conductors in over 60% of its inventory, which are highly susceptible to failure and more sensitive to inclement weather conditions than standard size conductors.

Use of Reclosers Despite Increased Wildfire Risks

According to the legal complaint, the 2013 report also noted PG&E’s use of reclosers, circuit breakers that automatically and remotely reenergize power lines when service interruptions occur. The lawsuit alleges that the use of reclosers increases fire danger when service interruptions occur as a result of a power line coming into contact with trees or other vegetation – so much so, that Southern California utilities reprogramed their electrical systems during fire season to prevent reclosers from automatically restarting electrical currents.

Reduction in Tree Maintenance

The lawsuit further alleges that between 2006 and 2013, in an effort to redistribute costs, PG&E actually reduced the number of trees it worked to maintain at a regulatory distance from energized conductors, from 1.7 million to 1.25 million.

Unfilled Repair and Maintenance Requests

According to the lawsuit, yet another audit of PG&E’s systems and operations in 2015 revealed that there were over 3,500 unfilled repair and maintenance requests in the areas of the fires, and that over 50 pieces of equipment, including pole-mounted transformers and power lines, had not been inspected every year as required by law.

About the Nuns Fire

The Nuns Fire ignited on the evening of October 8, 2017, and in subsequent days, merged with five smaller, nearby blazes: the Norrbom Fire, the Adobe Fire, the Partrick Fire, the Pressley Fire, and the Oakmont Fire.
The resulting conflagration burned over 54,000 acres of East Sonoma County before it was fully contained on October 31, 2017.

The sixth most destructive wildfire in California, the Nuns Fire prompted the evacuation of several communities and destroyed at least 1,200 homes and commercial businesses in Kenwood, Glen Ellen, Bennett Ridge, Warm Springs Road, and the surrounding areas.

The fire is believed to have started on Nuns Canyon Road, within a mile of Highway 12 in Glen Ellen.

“I don’t think anyone going to bed that night could have imagined that we’d have this kind of activity and this much destruction. It’s just not the kind of perfect storm that can be anticipated.” – Daniel Berlant, Asst. Deputy Director, Cal Fire

Our Experience

The law firms of Danko Meredith, Girard Gibbs, and Corey, Luzaich, de Ghetaldi & Riddle each has experience representing California businesses and families that have suffered losses in previous fires, and we have successfully litigated against some of the largest and most powerful corporations in the country, including PG&E.

We’ve prevailed in prior litigation against PG&E.

  • Following the 2015 Butte fire that destroyed over 70,000 acres, we proved that PG&E was liable for property damage.
  • We did the same in the cases arising from the San Bruno Fires, settling all of them in 2013 – just three years after the blaze.

We know more about PG&E’s fire prevention policies and litigation tactics than nearly anyone.

  • We know how PG&E’s fire prevention programs are supposed to work, how they fall short in practice, and why.
  • We have PG&E’s litigation playbook.
  • We know PG&E inside and out and believe that their approach which values profits over consumer safety needs to change. This will keep happening unless we take action.

Our unique experience positions us to represent our clients’ interests better than anyone else.

Meet Our Attorneys

Steve Lopez represents consumers and employees who have been harmed by corporate misconduct. He has prosecuted a variety of consumer protection cases ranging from false advertising to defective products, as well as complex employment cases involving misclassification and wage and hour claims brought under state and federal laws.

Steve Lopez

Gibbs Law Group LLP

Kristine has been named one of the Top 50 women lawyers in Northern California by Thompson Reuters and San Francisco Magazine, as well as one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in Northern California.

Kristine Meredith

Danko Meredith

Mike has frequently listed as one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in Northern California and has been this year named Trial Lawyer of the Year by the San Mateo Trial Lawyers Association. He has been honored with a nomination for Trial Attorney of the Year by the Consumer Attorneys of California. He has been named among the Best Lawyers in America consistently since 2009.

Mike Danko

Danko Meredith

In addition to his work representing victims of the PG&E gas line explosion and Butte fires, Dario helped to achieve a record-breaking settlement in an insider trading case implicating CEO of Oracle Larry Ellison. Dario in a Stanford Graduate and is often called upon by the courts to act as arbitrator in certain matters. He has served as adjunct professor of law at Canada College since 1998.

Dario de Ghetaldi

Corey, Luzaich, de Ghetaldi & Riddle

Amanda was appointed by the court to serve as co-liaison counsel for all the victims from the San Bruno fires. She currently serves as court-appointed co-liaison counsel for over 3,000 victims involved in the Butte Fire litigation. She has been a finalist for the Consumer Attorneys of California’s Woman Advocate of the Year Award. She also co-founded the San Mateo County Bar Association Legal Clinic Committee, which provides on-site legal services to residents of Shelter Network and Samaritan House’s homeless shelters on the Peninsula.

Amanda Riddle

Corey, Luzaich, de Ghetaldi & Riddle

Eric brings over two decades’ experience representing clients against large and powerful defendants including utility companies, banks, pharmaceutical companies, auto makers, tech companies, and others. The Daily Journal named Eric to its prestigious list of “Top Plaintiff Lawyers in California” for 2016 and Law360 recognized Eric as a “2016 Consumer Protection MVP,” the only plaintiff-side lawyer in the country selected in that category. Consumer Attorneys of California selected Eric as one of the finalists for the Consumer Attorney of the Year award for work in achieving $100 million settlement for customers against Chase Bank.

Eric Gibbs

Gibbs Law Group LLP

More About Our Team

Corey, Luzaich, de Ghetaldi & Riddle

Attorneys Dario de Ghetaldi and Amanda Riddle of Corey, Luzaich, de Ghetaldi & Riddle were co-liaison counsel for nearly 50 families in litigation against PG&E concerning the September 2010 explosion of a 30-inch natural gas transmission line in San Bruno. They currently represent over 200 families who are victims of the 2015 Butte Fire that devastated over 70,000 acres.

Danko Meredith

The attorneys of Danko Meredith have earned hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for their clients; Mike Danko serves as co-lead trial attorney on behalf of victims of the Butte Wildfire, and was recently honored as Trial Lawyer of the Year by San Mateo Trial Lawyers Association.

Girard Gibbs

Girard Gibbs’ attorneys bring more than two decades of experience representing clients in complex cases against utility companies, banks and pharmaceutical manufacturers. The Daily Journal named Girard Gibbs attorney Eric Gibbs to its prestigious list of “Top Plaintiff Lawyers in California” for 2016 and Law360 recognized Eric as a “2016 Consumer Protection MVP,” the only plaintiff-side lawyer in the country selected in that category.