A class action lawsuit was filed against PG&E Corporation in the Superior Court of the State of California County of San Francisco on December 5, 2018 alleging that it is responsbile for the devastation cause by the “Camp Fire” during November 2018.
The class action complaint alleges the November 2018 Camp Fire was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in modern California history that razed more than 150,000 acres across parts of Butte and Plumas Counties, destroying homes, businesses, and lives. The Camp Fire started just before sunrise on November 8th near the town of Pulga and moved rapidly west, virtually leveling the town of Paradise, with at least 88 lives lost, countless others injured, and 25 people still missing. The Camp Fire completely destroyed nearly 14,000 homes and hundreds of commercial buildings, along with everything in them.
The Camp Fire class action complaint further alleges that tens of thousands of people are now displaced from their homes, and many are now forced to live in shelters, tents, or their cars. They are left not knowing where they will sleep, when they will have a roof over their heads again, or whether they will be able to rebuild their lives.
The plaintiffs contend that the Camp Fire was caused by unsafe electrical infrastructure owned, operated, and (improperly) maintained by PG&E Corporation, and that PG&E had a duty to properly maintain its electrical infrastructure to ensure its safe operation, including by adequately designing, constructing, monitoring, maintaining, operating, repairing, replacing, and/or improving its power lines, poles, transformers, conductors, insulators, reclosers, and/or other electrical equipment.
The plaintiffs allege that PG&E Corporation’s duty included inspecting and managing vegetation around its power lines and/or other electrical equipment given the foreseeable risk of such vegetation coming into contact with this equipment and starting fires. Even though PG&E knew that its infrastructure was aging, unsafe, and vulnerable to weather and environmental conditions, it failed to fulfill these duties, and failed to take preventative measures in the face of known high-risk weather conditions, such as de-energizing its electrical equipment. The plaintiffs state that PG&E’s failures ultimately resulted in the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history.
The plaintiffs contend that the catastrophic damage and loss of life was preventable: PG&E’s failing infrastructure and its inadequate efforts to maintain its equipment and mitigate risk have caused tragedy before, and PG&E has been sanctioned a number of times for virtually identical misconduct. Despite notice of its past failures and even public reprimand, PG&E has continued to cut corners and put profits over safety, and continued to operate dangerous equipment without adequate risk management controls in place.
The plaintiffs seek the costs of repair, depreciation, and/or replacement of damaged, destroyed, and/or lost personal and/or real property;
loss of use, benefit, goodwill, and enjoyment of the plaintiffs’ real and/or personal property, and/or alternative living expenses; loss of wages, earning capacity, and/or business profits or proceeds and/or any related displacement expenses; attorneys’ fees, expert fees, consultant fees, and litigation costs and expense, as allowed under California Code of Civil Procedure § 1021.9; treble or double damages for wrongful injuries to timber, trees, or underwood on their property, as allowed under California Civil Code § 3346; general damages for fear, worry, annoyance, disturbance, inconvenience, mental anguish, emotional distress, and loss of quiet enjoyment of property; and, punitive/exemplary damages, inter alia.
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