Maui Wildfire Lawsuits – Are There Unique Challenges in Pursuing Fire-Related Lawsuits in Maui?

Are There Unique Challenges in Pursuing Fire-Related Lawsuits in Maui?

Amid the aftermath of a devastating wildfire that left many residents of the island of Maui homeless, lawsuits have begun to mount against entities believed to be responsible for the fires. These legal proceedings are aimed at securing compensation for those whose lives have been negatively impacted and ensuring that measures are in place to prevent such tragedies from occurring again in the future.

One such Maui fire lawyers firm, Nadrich & Cohen, is aggressively investigating the Maui fires by interviewing witnesses, documenting burn patterns and flying drones over the area. In the process, they are finding evidence that there was a major grid fault that caused the fires that ripped through the town of Lahaina and ravaged homes, businesses and other structures throughout West Maui.

The firm is also looking into the possibility that the fires were exacerbated by electrical equipment from Hawaiian Electric, which provides power to 95% of the state’s population. The lawsuits claim the utility company should have de-energized its lines during the high winds that accompanied Hurricane Dora as it passed over the island. The plaintiffs’ lawyers say videos posted to social media show downed power lines igniting dry grass and brush, and firms that monitor grid sensors report dozens of disruptions in the days leading up to the fires.

Maui Wildfire Lawsuits – Are There Unique Challenges in Pursuing Fire-Related Lawsuits in Maui?

Hawaii property owners are seizing on a legal shortcut used by California victims who helped push PG&E into bankruptcy and secure a $13.5 billion settlement in 2019. The approach, known as “inverse condemnation,” does not require proving the utility company’s negligence. It has been successful in securing compensation for victims of other wildfires that have destroyed properties across the nation.

Hawaiian Electric fire lawyers

As the Maui fires continue to grow, more and more people have reached out to a local law firm that has already filed multiple lawsuits on behalf of victims. The firm’s partner, John Singleton, said the clients are seeking damages that can help them rebuild and recover their losses.

He added that it is difficult to predict how long it will take for the lawsuits to be resolved, but he is confident they will succeed. He pointed out that many judges have been receptive to the inverse condemnation theory in other wildfire cases, and that it is likely that Hawaii’s highest court will agree with the plaintiffs’ position.

He said the main challenge is securing the necessary resources to handle all of the lawsuits. He said he expects that the firm will have to bring in additional attorneys and staff to assist with the caseload. He also acknowledged that the law firm is working within the rules set by the Ethics Commission, which requires that lawyers can’t call, knock or contact people face to face, but must instead send out fliers and ask residents to call if they want more information. If they tell the attorneys they are not interested, the law firm must stop contacting them. Several of the families are also bringing in their own lawyers to represent them.

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