(Los Angeles, Ca) Nearly 20 people impacted by the destructive Woolsey Fire are the first to sue Southern California Edison for negligence which resulted in worsening conditions that intensified the wildfires.
According to the class action complaint, filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the plaintiffs contend SCE failed to shut off power to prevent the fire and shut off electricity to water needed to protect homes and residences. On November 12, 2018 as the fire raged, SCE provided a preliminary report to the California Public Utility Commission stating that SCE’s electric substation had experienced a disturbance two minutes before the fire was first reported. The fire started at the same SCE facility where the substation is located.
“Southern California Edison failed to take proper precautions to protect people and property even though the utility had prior warning of the Red Flag conditions in the area,” said lead plaintiff attorney R. Rex Parris with Parris Law Firm. “SCE’s decision to eventually turn off the power only exacerbated the problem for residents and firefighters,” added Parris.
The lawsuit claims that once the electricity was off, residents and firefighters couldn’t access enough water with the right pressure to fight the fire, increasing risk to the safety of homeowners sheltering in place and firefighters.
The plaintiffs are property owners, renters, business owners and/or individuals that suffered damages by the dangerous Woolsey Fire in Los Angeles County, California and Ventura County. Because the named plaintiffs filed the case as a class action, they also seek to represent a class of every person and business harmed by Edison’s negligence.
The Woolsey Fire ignited on November 8, 2018 and since then, has burned more than 96,000 acres of land, destroyed more than 400 structures and caused more than 260,000 people to evacuate their homes. The fire also spread to the site of a nuclear reactor meltdown in the Santa Susana Complex which will likely spread radiological and chemical contamination, causing extensive damage and potential health issues.
The Parris Law Firm has handled numerous lawsuits against major utilities over the years, including several recent suits against SoCalGas regarding the Porter Ranch gas well blowout. The firm filed a lawsuit against SoCalGas last month on behalf of several firefighters who were misled as to the toxic chemicals present during the blowout. The firm also filed a class action lawsuit for Porter Ranch residents and individual lawsuits on behalf of residents against SoCalGas also related to that same gas well blowout.
The plaintiffs’ legal team includes R. Rex Parris, Alexander R. Wheeler, Patricia Oliver and Bernadette N. Manigault with the Lancaster based Parris Law Firm and Kevin I. Shenkman and Mary R. Hughes with the Malibu based law firm, Shenkman & Hughes PC.
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