California Utility Settles With Municipalities for $360 Million for 2017-2018 Fires

A California utility that was sued by 23 municipalities and special districts over three wildland fires and a fire-related mud-slide, has agreed to settle all claims for $360 Million. Southern California Edison agreed to compensate the public entities for the response costs they incurred as well as the damages they sustained during the Thomas Fire, the Koenigstein Fire which burned into the Thomas Fire, Woolsey Fire, and the Montecito mud slide.

The Thomas Fire and the Koenigstein Fire occurred in 2017. The Montecito mudslide resulted from the 2017 fires but occurred in January of 2018. The Woolsey Fire occurred in 2018. The firefighting costs alone are reported to have exceeded $174 million.

The agencies involved in the suits include Los Angeles County, Los Angeles County Flood Control District, Consolidated Fire Protection District of Los Angeles, Ventura County, Ventura County Watershed Protection, Ventura County Fire Protection District, City of Malibu, City of Agoura Hills, City of Calabasas, City of Hidden Hills, City of Thousand Oaks, City of Westlake Village, Conejo Recreation and Park District, Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District, Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency, Santa Barbara County, Santa Barbara County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, Santa Barbara County Fire Protection District, City of Santa Barbara, City of San Buenaventura, Montecito Water District, Montecito Fire Protection District, and Carpinteria Summerland Fire Protection District.

The settlement does not include numerous private lawsuits that arose out of these incidents.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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