SAN DIEGO–Today, Baron & Budd announced two settlements with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) for a total of $43.36 million on behalf of seven public entities affected by the 2019 Kincade and 2020 Zogg Fires. Sonoma County, City of Santa Rosa, Town of Windsor, City of Cloverdale, and City of Healdsburg settled their 2019 Kincade Fire claims for a collective $31 million, while Shasta and Tehama Counties settled their 2020 Zogg Fire claims for a collective $12.36 million.
“Counties and cities lose natural and public resources when utility-caused wildfires rip through communities in California,” said Baron & Budd Shareholder John Fiske. “These funds represent community and public resources lost, and these counties and cities took swift legal action to recover and help their communities rebuild.”
The 2019 Kincade Fire started on October 23, 2019 and burned approximately 77,758 acres, destroying 374 structures. In July 2020, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced that its investigation determined that PG&E equipment was the cause of the Kincade Fire. In April 2021, the Sonoma County District Attorney filed criminal charges against PG&E over the 2019 Kincade Fire, which forced nearly 200,000 residents to leave their homes in the largest evacuation effort in Sonoma County history.
The 2020 Zogg Fire started September 27, 2020 and burned approximately 56,338 acres, destroying or damaging approximately 231 buildings, and killing four people. In March 2021, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced that its investigation determined that PG&E equipment was the cause of the Zogg Fire, which forced the communities of Igo, Ono, Platina, and Happy Valley to evacuate.
The public entities were represented by their respective county counsel and city attorneys, and by John Fiske and Torri Sherlin of Baron & Budd, and Ed Diab of Dixon Diab & Chambers.
Baron & Budd has represented over 50 public entities affected by utility-caused wildfires and has recovered over $1.45 billion for its public entity clients alone. Past public entity wildfire settlements include $582 million for the 2018 Camp Fire, $415 million for the 2017 North Bay Fires, $210 million for the 2018 Woolsey Fire, $150 million for the 2017 Thomas Fire, and $25.4 million for the 2015 Butte Fire, among other settlements.
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Baron & Budd, P.C. is among the largest and most accomplished plaintiffs’ law firms in the country. With more than 40 years of experience, Baron & Budd has the expertise and resources to handle complex litigation throughout the United States. As a law firm that takes pride in remaining at the forefront of litigation, Baron & Budd has spearheaded many significant cases for hundreds of entities and thousands of individuals. Since the firm was founded in 1977, Baron & Budd has achieved substantial national acclaim for its work on cutting-edge litigation, trying hundreds of cases to verdict and settling tens of thousands of cases. Baron & Budd and its legal experts across the country pursue litigation to protect people and their communities from the effects of dangerous and diverse issues including: harmful pharmaceuticals as well as highly addictive opioids, defective medical devices, asbestos and mesothelioma, environmental contamination including delivering ground-breaking settlements for the California wildfire victims, e-cigarette manufactures, fraudulent and illegal banking practices, motor vehicle manufacturing and accidents, False Claims Act cases, and other consumer fraud issues.