On February 13, 2018, the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to retain the national law firm of Baron & Budd and the California Fire Lawyers to initiate litigation against PG&E for its role in causing the Butte Fire. The Board’s decision marks the next important step towards recovering “millions upon millions of taxpayer losses” from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. which the County of Calaveras sustained in the destructive 2015 Butte Fire.
The County has been working with a premier team of top national experts to understand the total amount the County has suffered from this large-scale disaster. Collecting numbers and supporting data in order to determine the amount of damages from a 70,000+ acre fire is a tremendous undertaking and the County and its team has calculated the County’s damages, evaluated and has pursued various legal avenues to secure compensation from PG&E and actively participated in confidential settlement negotiations.
Early in recovery from the Butte Fire, the County announced that it had lost—and will continue to lose—tens of millions of dollars in lost taxpayer funds, damaged infrastructure, fire suppression costs, government employee overtime, emergency response and recovery efforts, injury to natural resources, and other significant losses. Since the County will forever be scarred and socially and economically damaged, the County has worked to secure fair compensation for its residents and seek reimbursement for the damage to Calaveras County and its local infrastructure from PG&E, which is responsible for this tragedy.
“The County, its residents, and the taxpayers have endured devastating losses in the wake of these fires,” said Board Chairman Gary Tofanelli, “and this legal action is an important step towards taxpayer protection and recovery, and towards helping our communities rebuild.”
The County is vigilant and working with an exceptional expert team and are determined to give the people of Calaveras the best possible chance to rebuild and recover from this devastation. It is PG&E’s responsibility to make this right.
Baron & Budd, P.C. is a national law firm, retained by public entities over 425 times for litigation and trial. The California Fire Lawyers includes multiple law firms: Baron & Budd, Singleton Law Firm, Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire, Dixon Diab & Chambers, and Terry Singleton, Esq., California Fire Lawyers has also been retained by the Counties of Sonoma and Napa for claims related to the wine county fires.
In a response, Brandi Merlo, a spokeswoman for PG&E, said the company is committed to helping "friends and neighbors recover."
“We continue to extend our thoughts and prayers to the victims and the communities that suffered losses as a result of the Butte fire, and we continue to work to resolve their claims," said Merlo. "We want to reassure all of our customers and their families that we are unequivocally committed to their safety.