Recovering clients' losses for 2017 PG&E wildfires: Making our clients whole beyond insurance

2017 PG&E FIRE LAWSUITS

Recover All of Your Wildfire Losses

The PG&E fire lawsuits seek to recover money for fire survivors to cover a wide variety of losses, including the full value of properties and personal belongings, evacuation and temporary housing costs, emotional trauma, and loss of income. The fire lawsuits seek money in excess of what is already covered by insurance. We assist our clients with home insurance & personal property inventories.

Read about what’s currently happening with the PG&E North Bay Fires Lawsuit.

CAL FIRE Official Report: PG&E At Fault

In 2018, CAL FIRE, a government agency, investigated and issued official reports concluding that PG&E caused at least 12 of the 2017 North Bay fires.

“After extensive and thorough investigations, CAL FIRE investigators have determined that 12 Northern California wildfires in the October 2017 Fire Siege were caused by electric power and distribution lines, conductors and the failure of power poles.”- CAL FIRE, June 8, 2018

We represent hundreds of homeowners, renters and businesses in PG&E fire lawsuits alleging that PG&E violated California laws and is legally responsible to pay money to those who were affected by the fires.

Specifically, the PG&E fire lawsuits allege that by failing to properly inspect and maintain its infrastructure and clear vegetation from its power lines, PG&E has violated the law and is legal responsibility for the substantial damages caused by the fires.

Read a copy of the PG&E wildfire lawsuit.

Questions? Find out why you should file a claim

For a free consultation with a PG&E Wildfire Attorney, fill out the form to the right or call 707-562-0516. Hablamos Español.

Find out if you have a claim

Free consultation with a wildfire lawyer

707-562-0588

Local, Award-Winning PG&E Lawyers

We are an experienced Bay Area legal team that represents homeowners, renters and businesses affected by the 2017 Tubbs fires, Atlas fires, Nuns fires, Sulphur fires, Redwood Valley fires, and LaPorte fires. Our attorneys have been appointed by California judges to serve in leadership roles in several large, coordinated fire and disaster cases, including in the 2017 PG&E Fire Cases, San Bruno Explosion and Butte Fire cases. Collectively we have more experience taking on PG&E than any other law firm in California

Find out if you have a claim to recover money from PG&E. For a free consultation with a PG&E Wildfire Attorney, fill out the form to the right or call 707-562-0516. Hablamos Español.

Our team of lawyers has been widely-recognized for the quality of our work and achievements:

  • Trial Lawyer of the Year, San Mateo Trial Lawyers Association (Mike Danko)
  • Top Plaintiff Lawyers in California, Daily Journal (Eric Gibbs)
  • Trial Lawyer of the Year, Finalist, Consumer Attorneys of California (Mike Danko)
  • Woman Advocate of the Year, Finalist, Consumer Attorneys of California (Amanda Riddle)
  • Consumer Protection MVP, Law360 (Eric Gibbs)
  • Top 50 Women Lawyers in Northern California (Kristine Meredith)
  • Consumer Attorney of the Year, Finalist, Consumer Attorneys of California (Eric Gibbs)
  • Top 100 Super Lawyers in Northern California (Mike Danko, Kristine Meredith, Eric Gibbs)

Why Bring A PG&E Fire Lawsuit?

What a PG&E Wildfire Lawsuit May Provide

Money: Lost Value of Your Homes, Personal Property, & Sentimental Value

Money: Trees & Landscape

Pay for Lost Income and Wages

Compensation for Emotional Trauma

Reimbursement of Evacuation & Alternative Housing Costs

PG&E Found to Have Caused Wildfire

CAL FIRE INVESTIGATION: PG&E CAUSED 17 OF THE 2017 NORTH BAY FIRES

“The 2017 CAL FIRE Wildfire report has determined that 17 Northern California wildfires in the October 2017 Fire Siege were caused by electric power and distribution lines, conductors and the failure of power poles.”

So far, Cal Fire has determined that 17 of the Northern California wildfires in October 2017 were caused by PG&E equipment, including electric power and distribution lines, conductors and the failure of power poles.

In fact, Cal Fire has referred the matter to law enforcement for possible criminal prosecution of PG&E. Our own experts’ work and findings to date have paralleled Cal Fire’s. Unlike Cal Fire’s opinions, however, our experts’ opinions are admissible and can be used as evidence in the lawsuits brought against P&GE on behalf of homeowners.

The Cal Fire report cannot be used as evidence in trial against PG&E. Rather, lawyers for homeowners must present their own experts at trial to testify about any particular fire’s cause and origin.

When the evidence shows that a fire is caused by PG&E’s equipment, under the legal principle of inverse condemnation, P&GE will be required to pay for not just the property damage caused by the fire, but also the property owners’ attorneys’ fees.

Redwood Fire “fire caused by tree parts or trees falling onto PG&E power lines”
Sulphur Fire “fire caused by the failure of a PG&E-owned power pole, resulting in power lines and equipment coming in contact with the ground”
Cherokee Fire “fire caused by “tree limbs coming into contact with PG&E power lines”
37 Fire “fire cause of the fire was electrical and was associated with the PG&E distribution lines in the area”
Blue Fire “fire caused when “a PG&E power line conductor separated from a connector, causing the conductor to fall to the ground”
Norrbom Fire “fire caused by a tree falling and coming in contact with PG&E power lines”
Adobe Fire “fire caused by a eucalyptus tree falling into a PG&E powerline”
Partrick Fire “fire caused by an oak tree falling into PG&E powerlines”
Pythian Fire “fire caused by a downed powerline after PG&E attempted to reenergize the line”
Nuns Fire “fire caused by a broken top of a tree coming in contact with a power line”
Pocket Fire “fire caused by the top of an oak tree breaking and coming into contact with PG&E power lines”
Atlas Fire “At one location, it was determined a large limb broke from a tree and came into contact with a PG&E power line. At the second location, investigators determined a tree fell into the same line”
Cascade Fire “Power line sag on two conductors caused the lines to come into contact, which created an electrical arc. The electrical arc deposited hot burning or molten material on the ground in a receptive fuel bed causing the fire.”
McCourtney Fire “a tree falling onto PG&E power lines”
Lobo Fire “a tree contacting PG&E power lines”
Honey Fire “an Oak branch contacting PG&E power lines”
La Porte Fire “tree branches falling onto PG&E power lines”

Our PG&E and Wildfire Experience

✓No Other Firm Has More Experience Suing PG&E.
Our first case against PG&E was nearly 30 years ago. We know PG&E’s playbook and we use that unique knowledge to benefit our clients.

We have succeeded in trial against PG&E.
Our lead trial lawyer, Mike Danko, is the only lawyer in Northern California to have taken a case of this type all the way through to trial and verdict against PG&E. Since then, PG&E has offered settlements to our clients in many cases during or just before the start of trial. PG&E knows we are ready, willing and able to take a case to trial, and that approach helps us achieve the best results for our clients.

Appointed by judges to lead legal battles against PG&E.
We have been appointed by judges to leadership positions in large-scale cases against PG&E, including the 2017 North Bay Fires cases, the 2015 Butte Fire cases, and the 2010 San Bruno Explosion cases. Judges trust us to represent the best interests of fire & disaster victims.

Sonoma and Other Counties File Wildfire Lawsuits Against PGE To Recover Their Losses

On February 26, 2018, Sonoma County and others, filed a lawsuit against PG&E for damages relating to the Tubbs Fire, Nuns Fire, and Pocket Fire. According to Sonoma County’s lawsuit, “the Wine Country Fires started when electrical infrastructure owned, operated and maintained by PG&E . . . came into contact with vegetation that PG&E was obligated to have inspected and maintained but failed to do so in a manner that would have prevented or mitigated the effects of such contact.”

Regarding the firestorm, Sonoma County Counsel Bruce Goldstein stated: “
[w]e believe based on an investigation attorneys put together that PG&E was a significant cause of it.”

Meet Our Wildfire Lawyers

Northern California Fire Lawyers is a coalition of prominent Northern California law firms: Corey, Luzaich, de Ghetaldi & Riddle, Danko Meredith, and Gibbs Law Group. Our firms consist of seasoned trial lawyers, leading national personal injury attorneys, and experienced complex litigators. Attorneys on our team have been appointed by California judges to serve in leadership positions in a number of large, coordinated fire and disaster cases. We bring a deep knowledge of the systems and fire-prevention policies of major utility companies and are well-positioned to leverage the hard work from our previous cases to benefit our clients.

Trial Lawyer of the Year

San Mateo Trial Lawyers Association

Mike Danko

Consumer Protection MVP

Law360

Eric Gibbs (sole plaintiffs’ lawyer recognized nationwide)

Top 30 Plaintiff Lawyers in California

Daily Journal

Eric Gibbs

Top 50 Women Lawyers in Northern California

Kristine Meredith

Trial Lawyer of the Year

Finalist, Consumer Attorneys of California

Mike Danko

Consumer Attorney of the Year

Finalist, Consumer Attorneys of California

Eric Gibbs

Woman Advocate of the Year

Finalist, Consumer Attorneys of California

Amanda Riddle

Av-Preeminent

Martindale-Hubbell – highest class of attorneys for professional ethics and legal skills

Eric Gibbs

Allegations in Our Clients' Lawsuits

PG&E's Executive and Incentive Management Program

The complaint alleges that despite its knowledge of the risks, PG&E maintained an incentive program for executives and management focused on reducing the number of customer complaints about outages rather than complying with vegetation management regulations. As the complaint describes, PG&E performs two kinds of vegetation management work:

  1. Routine compliance work — focused on clearing the required distances between energized conductors and vegetation
  2. Reliability work — focused on reducing the number of vegetation-related outages

Because outages in urban areas generate more complaints per square mile, reliability work tends to be performed in densely populated urban areas, while routine compliance work is performed in rural areas.

As described in the complaint, in 2006, PG&E developed the “Vegetation Management Incentive Initiative” directed at reducing the amount of routine compliance work in favor of reliability work.

Specifically, PG&E tied its executive and management bonuses to reducing customer complaints over outages. According the complaint, PG&E funded its outage reduction work by reducing the number of trees it inspected as part of state regulatory requirements.

For example, in 2011, PG&E set a goal to reduce the number of trees for which it performed compliance work by 180,000 trees. In 2012, PG&E aimed to reduce the number of routine compliance trees again by 25%. And in 2014, PG&E set to reduce the number of routine compliance trees annually by 7.5% through 2016. According to the complaint, these actions contributed to causing the Northern California Fires.