October 14, 2020 9:15 a.m.
Local attorney Jeff Mornarich of Dole Coalwell is teaming up with two-well known lawyers to sue Pacific Power over what they claim is the utility’s role in the Archie Creek Fire.
A release from Dole Coalwell said the fire destroyed over one hundred homes and tens of thousands of acres of public and private forest lands. It said that PacificCorp, the utility that owns Pacific Power, “likely bears responsibility for this fire”. Mornarich said multiple eye witnesses have been interviewed on video, who recount seeing a tree having fallen into a Pacific Power electrical line, but with no fire starting from it. Mornarich said its their belief that the power shut off at about 3:30 a.m. on September 8th in the Susan Creek area because of trees and limbs blowing onto the lines and shorting them out. The release said “Our belief is that Pacific Power negligently re-energized the electrical lines without removing trees and limbs, which caused the fire in the Susan Creek drainage”.
Mornarich said based on their investigation there is reason to believe the fire was “…caused by negligent acts of Pacific Power, and the firms intend to hold that company accountable”.
The release said due to the complexity of the case, the massive scope of the claims and the extensive legal resources of Pacific Power, Dole Coalwell reached out to who they call “the most experienced and reputable law firms in the United States that handle wildfire cases”. The release said Attorney’s Mikal Watts, of Watts Guerra in San Antonio, Texas, and Robert Julian, of BakerHostetler in San Francisco, California, agree with Dole Coalwell’s analysis, and intend to file suit against Pacific Power on behalf of the residents and businesses that suffered losses not covered by insurance. The release said together these firms have successfully represented the interests of more than 70,000 victims who suffered losses from fires caused by California’s Pacific, Gas & Electric.
The release said this is not a class action lawsuit. It is mass action. That means that each plaintiff’s case is separate and each plaintiff will ultimately decide the outcome of their case.
Dole Coalwell will host a town hall meeting at the Glide High School gym on Thursday October 22, at 6:00 p.m. to answer questions that local residents have about their rights. Attorney’s Watts and Julian will lead the meeting. The release said those attending need to wear a mask and comply with COVID-19 rules enacted by the Glide School District.