Woolsey Fire Lawsuits
Seeking Fair Compensation for California Wildfire Victims
In 2018, Southern California was ravaged by the massive Woolsey Fire (also
known as the Malibu Fire,) which began around 2 pm on November 8th between
Simi Valley and Chatsworth and scorched its way across more than 97,000
acres in a matter of days. The California wildfire was first reported
two minutes after an outage occurred at Southern California Edison’s
Southern California Edison’s role in the fire is currently under
The Woolsey Fire started the same day as the deadly Camp Fire in Northern
California which was caused by negligence on the part of Pacific Gas &
Electric Company (PG&E). At Baum Hedlund, some of our own staff and
lawyers were evacuated during the Woolsey Fire and have been volunteering
aid to friends and neighbors in their communities.
For more information about how our Los Angeles attorneys can help you seek
compensation after the Woolsey Fire, call
(855) 948-5098 or
submit our online contact form today.
How Much Damage Did the Woolsey Fire Cause?
In total, the Woolsey Fire forced 250,000 people to flee their homes in
Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Three people died in the Malibu fire, including two victims who were found
in a car at Mullholland Highway. It appears they were attempting to flee
the fire before being overcome by flames. The fire also took the life
of Dr. Alfred deCiutiis, who was killed while in his Agoura Hills home.
His brothers hired our firm to represent them in awrongful death lawsuit against Southern California Edison that we filed on April 16, 2019.
The damage to homes and property has also been substantial, with hundreds
of houses destroyed, 83% of National Parks Service land in the Santa Monica
Mountains National Recreational Area burned, and more than 150 square
miles of fire damage.
The fires primarily affected these areas:
- Agoura Hills
- Bell Canyon
- Hidden Hills
- Newbury Park
- Oak Park
- Simi Valley
- Thousand Oaks
- Westlake Village
- West Hills
How Did the Woolsey Fire Start?
What exactly started the Woolsey fire is still unknown, but CAL Fire (the
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection)
started their investigation into Southern California Edison’s role
in the blaze. The company reported an outage at its Chatsworth substation
at 2:22 pm on November 8, 2018. That report of a circuit disturbance came
only two minutes prior to the first sightings of the Woolsey Canyon fire
at the same address.
If Southern California Edison’s equipment is found responsible for
causing the fire, California law requires the utility to pay for all of
the damages caused by the fire, including lost homes, businesses, and
property, as well as medical bills arising from any injuries and potentially
significant amounts to the families of those who lost loved ones. If the
company is found to have started the fire because of negligence, instead
of faulty equipment, the company can be forced to pay additional damages.
Woolsey Fire victims have multiple options to pursue compensation for losses.
Those with a homeowner’s insurance policy that covers wildfires
can file an insurance claim to repair, rebuild or replace their home and
property. Victims may also choose to file a claim for relief with the
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Very often, however, the only
way a victim of the fire can recover for all the losses and harms suffered
is through a lawsuit against the entities responsible for causing the
fire. Such lawsuits are separate from FEMA and insurance relief and can
take place even if you don’t have insurance coverage.
Southern California Edison Involved in Multiple California Wildfires
This is not the first time that Southern California Edison has come up during a
California wildfire investigation. In the past, Southern California Edison has been fined heavily for lying,
misrepresenting evidence, and even destroying evidence related to its
role in the 2007 Malibu Fire.
Southern California Edison (SCE) later admitted fault for allowing their
power lines to be overloaded despite an assessment warning of that exact
outcome. SCE eventually settled the lawsuit brought against them by the
California Public Utilities Commission for $37 million.
It was also fined over similar issues after a 2011 Santa Ana windstorm
left over 400,000 people without power.
In December 2017, the Thomas Fire raged across Southern California, killing
two, destroying over 1062 structures, including more than 700 homes, burning
upwards of 280,000 acres, and triggering the Montecito mudslide that would
kill an additional 21 people. Southern California Edison later admitted
that its equipment was associated with at least one of the two ignition
points for the fire and currently faces multiple lawsuits over their actions
in causing the wildfire.