On October 8-9, wildfires raged through the countryside of Northern California. These blazes burned nearly 6,200 homes, wiped out around 150 commercial buildings and killed 43 people. Thankfully, the fires were contained a few short weeks ago, but many families are returning to find they no longer have homes. Now, these wildfire victims are banding together with Mary Alexander & Associates to claw back some of what they lost from the responsible party—PG&E.
Why Are Wildfire Victims Filing Lawsuits Against PG&E?
The topic of gross negligence became the center of attention at San Francisco Superior Court on November 2nd. That’s because three families joined 12 other wildfire victims in filing lawsuits against energy provider PG&E. Mary Alexander and one of the clients she is representing, Nemesio Ruiz, spoke to the press after filing the lawsuit.
Ruiz described how his family had just celebrated his son’s 17th birthday right before having to leave everything behind as fires burned ever closer to their home. After the blaze was contained, and the family returned only to find the burnt remains of the life they once had. Alexander says, “These families deserve to be compensated,” but how is a power company responsible for so much destruction?
The lawsuit alleges that PG&E neglected the proper maintenance of a group of powerlines that are being investigated as the source of the wildfires that ripped through neighborhoods, destroying homes and precious memories. Vegetation was allowed to grow too close to these PG&E powerlines, so when high winds knocked the lines down, they caught the dry brush on fire and caused a horrific blaze. Worse yet, this isn’t the only lack of maintenance issue PG&E is involved in.
Mary Alexander & Associates is representing 11 families and 39 victims of the Wine Country fires.
Back in December 2016, a fire broke out at the Ghost Ship night club, killing 36 people. Maintenance issues on the part of PG&E may be the cause of that fire as well, and Mary Alexander & Associates are representing plaintiffs in the lawsuits filed by the Ghost Fire victims and their families.