Our team of attorneys have filed a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of victims of the Atlas Fire, alleging that PG&E’s failure to update aging infrastructure and maintain trees near its power lines caused the destructive conflagrations. Specifically, the lawsuit says, the Atlas and other fires were ignited when energized electrical distribution lines came in contact with nearby vegetation.
The fire lawsuits seek money in excess of what is already covered by insurance. We also assist our clients with home insurance & personal property inventories.
Questions? Find out why you should file a claim
Atlas Fire survivors may have legal claims to compensation from PG&E for property losses, serious injuries, and other damages. Fill out the form to the right to explore your options and your claims with a trusted wildfire attorney today, free. Hablamos Español.
Did PG&E Cause the Atlas Fire?
The Atlas fire lawsuit references 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.”
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.
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 encountering 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.
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.
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.
Find out if you have a claim.
Free consultation with a wildfire lawyer
We are an experienced Bay Area legal team that represents homeowners, renters and businesses affected by the 2017 Tubbs 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.
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)
The Atlas Fire ignited on October 8, 2017, and burned for nearly three weeks before it was fully contained on October 27, 2017.
The blaze is one of over a dozen wildfires that raged through several Northern California counties throughout the month, and is one of three fires that comprise the Southern LNU Complex (with the Nuns and Partrick Fires).
Before it was contained, the Atlas Fire burned over 51,000 acres of Napa and Solano counties. The conflagration destroyed over 740 homes, wineries, and other structures on both sides of Atlas Peak Road and claimed the lives of six people. Much of the destruction occurred around the Silverado Resort and Spa in north Napa; though, at its peak, the fire stretched from Lake Berryessa to south Napa.
Within the first 48 hours of the blaze, hundreds of Napa and Solano county residents were forced to flee their homes with little or no notice, their escapes complicated by the loss of all power and cellular service in the area.
“We could see a solid wall of flames, all the way from Pritchard Hill, across Stagecoach, across Antinori and Antica and down to Circle R Ranch, all the way down as far as we could see to the south.” – Tom Dinkel, via Napa Valley Register
✓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.
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.
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’ 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.