Butte Camp Fire: 2018
State fire investigators said that “after a very meticulous and thorough investigation, Cal Fire has determined that the Camp Fire was caused by electrical transmission lines owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electricity (PG&E).”
In May 2019, the SF Chronicle reported that PG&E had set aside $10.5 billion to cover claims from the Camp Fire.
In June 2019, PG&E reached a $522 million settlement for the Camp Fire, under which it would pay Paradise $270 million and pay $252 million to Butte County, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The payouts on any Camp Fire settlements will not occur unless and until they are approved by the bankruptcy judge.
PG&E is currently going through a reorganization bankruptcy. The judge has set an October 21 deadline for fire victims to file their claims. If you haven’t already contacted an attorney, you should act now.
Northern California Wildfires: 2017
The 2017 NorCal wildfires, also known as the North Bay Fires and Wine Country Fires, were a series of 250 wildfires that started burning across northern California beginning in October 2017. Government fire investigators concluded that PG&E violated state laws that required clearing brush and properly maintaining equipment, according to news sources related to the Sonoma Index-Tribune. The same source reported that fire investigators concluded PG&E’s violations caused the the Atlas fire in Napa County; the Sulphur fire in Lake County; the Blue fire in Humboldt County; and the Norrbom, Partrick, Pythian, Adobe and Pocket fires that burned in Sonoma and Napa counties.
In June 2019, PG&E agreed to settle with Napa County and 8 other public entities for $415 million. And KQED reports that PG&E has set aside $2.5 billion for claims related to the 2017 wildfires.
Butte Fire: 2015
The Butte Fire was caused by a tree falling on a PG&E power line, sparking a fire that burned 70,000 acres and destroyed 365 homes, according to ABC10. PG&E paid nearly $1 billion in claims related to the 2015 Butte Fire, according to Bloomberg. PG&E also faced nearly $100 million on unresolved claims, reports Bloomberg, but the company said these claims would be tied up in the bankruptcy proceedings it filed in 2019. The bankruptcy does not, however, mean PG&E is out of money.
San Bruno Pipeline Ignition: 2010
According to SF Gate, PG&E cut costs on its safety inspections and testing for its San Bruno line. The pipeline sprung a leak, ultimately causing an explosion that killed many people, SF Gate reports. PG&E was sentenced to 5 years criminal probation; was required to pay the state $1.6 billion; and agreed to pay settlements to victims of around $565 million, according to an ABC10 report.
Rancho Cordova Pipeline Ignition: 2008
According to news reports, PG&E improperly repaired a natural gas pipeline in Rancho Cordova, sparking an explosion that injured multiple people. PG&E was required to pay $38 million in penalties and an undisclosed amount in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Trinity County and El Dorado County Fires: 2004
The two wildfires in 2004 were blamed on trees falling on PG&E power lines, according to ABC10. The fire burned through more than 4,000 acres. PG&E and its subcontractors participated in a $29.5 million settlement.
Mission Street Fire: 2003
A fire was sparked by a PG&E substation on Mission Street and blazed through San Francisco for 9 hours. California regulators said that PG&E could have avoided the 2003 fire had implemented safety measures recommended after a near-identical fire in 1996. The fire caused a power outage to more than 100,000 SF residents. PG&E paid about $530 million to San Francisco and the state of California, according to ABC10.
Tahoe Fire: 1999
Local news reported that a pine tree fell on PG&E power lines, sparking a fire. The fire burned for 11 days, destroying nearly 12,000 acres of the Tahoe and Plumas National Forests. PG&E settled the government’s claims for about $15 million.
Sonoma County Fire: 1996
According to new reports, trees that PG&E failed to trim hit a high-voltage power line northeast of Sonoma, sparking a fire that consumed 2,100 acres over 3 days. Over 50 claims were filed against PG&E by property owners, according to the company. PG&E settled “most” of these claims, according to SF Gate. For example, PG&E settled for $5 million with one winery that lost two-thirds of its vineyards to the 1996 wildfire.
Sierra Fire: 1994
In a lawsuit, PG&E was found guilty of over 700 counts of criminal negligence for failing to trim trees near power lines. The untrimmed trees caused the Sierra Fire, according to news reports. PG&E was required to pay $2 million (which is $3.5 million in today’s dollars, after accounting for inflation).
✓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.
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.