Woolsey Fire Lawsuit

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 Chatsworth substation.

Southern California Edison’s role in the fire is currently under investigation. 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
  • Calabasas
  • Camarillo
  • Hidden Hills
  • Malibu
  • Newbury Park
  • Oak Park
  • Simi Valley
  • Thousand Oaks
  • Topanga
  • 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.

helicopter putting out the Woolsey fire

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.

Contact Us

  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter the age of the patient.
  • Please enter the age of the patient.
  • Please enter your symptoms.
  • Please describe your experience.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please enter your primary phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your city.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter your zip code.
    This isn't a valid zip cide.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Pilliod et al. v. Monsanto Co. $2 Billion
  • Dewayne “Lee” Johnson v. Monsanto Co. $289.2 Million
  • Pharmaceutical Settlement $105 Million
  • Hardeman v. Monsanto Co. $80 Million
  • Paxil Pediatric Class Action $63 Million
  • Third-Party Payer Class Action $40 Million
  • Defective Drug Class Action $28 Million
  • Whistleblower Settlement $18 Million

    $18 million settlement for Boeing government overcharging on aircraft maintenance

  • A Major US Plane Crash $17.5 Million
  • Commercial Truck Accident $15 Million

    $15 million settlement for a person gravely injured by a major truck company

  • Best Law Firms 2021
    Best Law Firms 2021

    The U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process.

  • National Trial Lawyers Top 100
    National Trial Lawyers Top 100

    The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 recognized the law firms of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman, the Miller Firm and Audet & Partners with the 2019 Trial Team of the Year award (in the Mass Torts category) for their work in the groundbreaking case of Dewayne “Lee” Johnson v. Monsanto Company.

  • California Powerhouse
    California Powerhouse

    Law360 recognizes law firms that have a strong regional presence, working on important matters within their home state. “[Baum Hedlund] possesses a David v. Goliath-sized slingshot while seeking justice for everyday citizens it believes were harmed or killed through corporate wrongdoing.”

  • Elite Trial Lawyers
    Elite Trial Lawyers

    NLJ and American Lawyer Media honor law firms and attorneys as Elite Trial Lawyers for their cutting-edge legal work on behalf of plaintiffs in practice areas ranging from mass torts to securities litigation.

  • Listed in Best Lawyers
    Listed in Best Lawyers

    Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. A listing in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers.

  • AV Top Ranked Law Firm
    AV Top Ranked Law Firm

    Less than one-half of one percent of firms across the nation have achieved this ranking. A firm must have a high percentage of lawyers who have achieved the prestigious AV® Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell®.

  • Verdicts Hall of Fame
    Verdicts Hall of Fame

    The National Law Journal inducted Baum Hedlund into the Verdicts Hall of Fame for obtaining the $2 billion landmark verdict in the Roundup cancer case of Pilliod et al. v. Monsanto. The verdict was #1 in California and #2 in the U.S. in 2019 and is #9 in American history.

  • Super Lawyers
    Super Lawyers

    Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated
    AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated

    An AV® rating reflects an attorney who has reached the heights of professional excellence. The rating signifies the highest legal ability, and very high adherence to professional standards of conduct, ethics, reliability, and diligence.

  • Board Certified Attorneys
    Board Certified Attorneys

    The National Board of Trial Advocacy is one of the nation’s largest and oldest private board-certification organizations for attorneys. Two of our shareholders are certified in multiple specialties.

  • Top Jury Verdict in <br> CA and USA
    Top Jury Verdict in
    CA and USA

    TopVerdict.com ranks our $2 billion verdict in Pilliod et al. v. Monsanto as the biggest verdict in California and the second largest verdict in the U.S. in 2019. It is the ninth largest verdict in U.S. history.

  • Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers
    Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers

    Published annually, the Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers list recognizes the “best of the best” in this area of the law through nominations, research, and review by a board of their peers.

  • Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
    Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States.  Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements.

  • Product Liability Practice Group of the Year
    Product Liability Practice Group of the Year

    In 2020, Law360 honored the law firms ”behind the litigation wins and major deals that resonated throughout the legal industry.” It recognized our success in several landmark cases.

  • Top Personal Injury Jury Verdict in California
    Top Personal Injury Jury Verdict in California

    In 2018, our $289 million Johnson v. Monsanto verdict was the largest personal injury verdict in California. TopVerdict.com also ranked it #2 among all verdicts in California and #10 in the nation.

  • Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers
    Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers

    The Bar Register is the definitive guide to the most distinguished law firms in America. It includes only those select law practices that have earned the highest rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and have been designated by their colleagues as preeminent in their field.


Seeking Justice for Those Harmed by Preventable Fires

Our experienced Los Angeles litigators have teamed up with renowned environmental attorney, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Malibu-resident and respected trial lawyer, Brian Strange, and fire experts Michael Vergon and James Finneran to further investigate Southern California Edison’s part in Woolsey Fire. Before moving into private practice, Michael A. Vergon worked for 24 years as a Special Agent for the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosive (ATF). During his last 15 years at the ATF, Mike earned his certification as a Certified Fire Investigator, working as a Senior Special Agent. James M. Finneran is a Certified Fire Investigator and a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator with over 35 years of experience in determining the cause of fires, electrical evaluations, and product failure analysis.

Here at Baum Hedlund, Diane Marger Moore is one of the most experienced fire trial lawyers in the country. She is a Board Certified Trial Attorney with decades of experience in fire lawsuits stemming from her time as Chief Deputy Arson Prosecutor. Her previous experience as both a criminal prosecutor and civil fire defense attorney gives her unique insight into the many ways companies like Southern California Edison try to slither away from responsibility.

Similarly, Ronald Goldman has extensive experience dealing with complex personal injury and wrongful death cases related to negligent companies. Both Mr. Goldman and Diane Marger Moore are board certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Also part of our team of California wildfire team: Michael Baum, the firm’s managing shareholder. Michael first litigated fire cases in 1987, when we was on the team that represented many of the guests who died in the Dupont Plaza Hotel fire in Puerto Rico, one of the deadliest hotel fires in U.S. history.

If you lost a home, were injured, or had a loved one perish in a California wildfire like the Woolsey Fire, contact Baum Hedlund or call us at (855) 948-5098 to speak with a wildfire lawyer today.

Firm Reviews

What Our Clients Are Saying
  • I Can’t Imagine a Better Law Firm

    “Multiple lawyers recommended Baum Hedlund to me and I have been consistently impressed with the quality of their work.”

    - Best Law Firms Survey
  • They Are About Changing the Systems...

    “Baum Hedlund are not only amazing attorneys but more importantly, they are activists. They are about changing the systems which got us into trouble in the first place. They understand their role in the process of making change.”

    - Kim Witczak
  • Top Legal Minds in the Country

    “The Baum, Hedlund firm has some of the top legal minds in the country; they are driven, determined, trustworthy, ethical and passionate.”

    - From Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms
  • Diligent & Professional Representation

    “Thanks to your efforts I was able to recover from a tragic experience and turn my life around for the best.”

    - W.T.
  • Our Best Interest Was Always Number One on Your List

    “A special thank you to your Spanish-speaking staff for the extra effort put into this case. The language barrier was never a problem, and we are so very thankful to them. Your name holds much respect in our family.”

    - G.C. & C.C