Trust Funds Compensate 2015 to 2018 California and Oregon Fire Victims

Trust Funds Compensate 2015 to 2018 California and Oregon Fire Victims

Complex public safety litigation resulted in manslaughter charges against Pacific Gas and Electric and a multibillion dollar trust fund to compensate those who lost family members and homes during the tragic 2018 Camp forest fire. If you're a victim of the 2015 Butte fire, the 2017 North Bay fires, or the 2018 Camp fire, you have until February 26, 2021 to file for compensation from the fire victim's trust fund. A similiar class action lawsuit has been filed against multiple electic companies that caused the forest fires in Lincoln and Linn Counties in Oregon.

Pacific Gas and Electric Caused Horrific Fires

The Camp fire began at dawn near Pulga and rapidly moved west taking 88 lives, leaving 25 people missing, and leveling 14,000 homes and commercial structures. Displaced people were living in shelters, tents, or cars when the class action lawsuit was filed. In the California Superior Court in the County of San Fransico, class action plaintiffs proved that the Camp Fire that leveled Paradise, California, in November 2018 was caused by Pacific Gas and Electric equipment. The complaint alleged:

  • Negligence with economic advantage

  • Public and private nusiance

  • Premises liabiity

  • Violation of public utilities code

  • Violation of health and safety code

Pacific Gas and Electric

Pacific Gas and Electric Company is privately owned, but it's a public utility with exclusive right by the State of California to provide electricity within its territories. Therefore, Pacific Gas and Electric is an agency of the state guaranteed by the California Public Utilities Commission. Pacific Gas and Electric settled 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter in the 2018 Camp Fire for $13.5 billion. The fire destroyed the entire town of Paradise. PacifiCorp, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.

Fire Victim's Trust Fund

Pacific Gas and Electric Company has $70 billion in assets and serves more than 5 million California households. Pacific Gas and Electric has $1.4 billion in wildfire insurance. Cathy Yanni, claims administrator of the Fire Victim Trust, assesses and administers all claims of losses resulting from the 2015 Butte Fire, the 2017 North Bay Fires, and the 2018 Camp Fire. Trustee John K. Trotter will equitably distribute funds to compensate the displaced homeowners for the loss of their homes, motor vehicles, home furnishings, living expenses, business losses, wages lost, personal injuries, wrongful deaths, medical expenses, and emotional distress.

Applying for Fire Victims' Compensation

Either you or your attorney can file a claim for compensation from the Fire Victim’s Trust by completing the claims questionnaire online before the end of February 2020. You may be required to upload supporting documentation with your claim. Forest fire victims are encouraged to apply for the maximum possible compensation so undistributed funds are not returned to the electric companies.

Echo Mountain Complex Fire

In Multnomah County Circuit Court in Portland, Oregon, Echo Mountain Complex fire victims filed a complaint against PacifiCorp and its subsidiary, Pacific Power. Two law firms in Portland and a law firm in Seattle claim that Pacific Power’s negligence resulted in the loss of thousands of homes and motor vehicles in Santiam Canyon, Oregon. Pacific Power failed to trim weeds surrounding its equipment and ignored the National Weather Service’s forest fire warnings. Their power lines caused at least 13 fires.

Five Power Companies Contributed to Holiday and Riverside Fires in Oregon

The class action lawsuit alleges that Pacific Power caused the Echo Mountain Complex fire and demands financial compensation for the fire victims’ losses. Pacific Power, Lane Electric Cooperative, and Eugene Water and Electric all directed electrical power into the Holiday Farm fire. Portland General Electric high-voltage lines carried electricity into the Riverside fire. The federal Bonneville Power Administration also operated equipment in the Holiday and Riverside areas. The lawsuit also seeks an injunction requiring Pacific Power to turn off its electricity when fire warnings are issued.

Class action lawsuits and criminal complaints hold electric companies accountable for their actions or omissions. Trust funds compensate fire victims for losses. Class action lawsuits force the unscrupulous big businesses to care about their customers, their families, their homes, and their personal property. The Public Utility Commission of Oregon states that Pacific Power is helping to rebuild the fire-ravaged communities. Pacific Power paid more than $500,000 during 2019 to add access roads and install advanced actuator switches to prevent forest fires.

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