Witch Creek fire

APPEALS COURT RULES 2007 FIRE SURVIVOR CAN RECOVER DAMAGES FROM SDG&E FOR EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 9, 2017 (Poway) –Judge O'Rourke on the Fourth District Court of Appeal has issued a decision finding that Superior Court Judge Richard Strauss erred in not allowing 2007 wildfire survivor William Michael Hensley to present evidence of emotional distress damages.

According to the court decision, William Hensley was out of town when the wildfire forced his wife, Linda, and their daughter to evacuate.  Worried about their safety, he came home early and drove with Linda to a nearby location where they watched the fire burn houses close to theirs, fearing  that everything  had been lost.  Their house was damaged and a large grove of avocado trees burned down.

COURT SETS TRIAL DATE FOR WITCH CREEK/GUEJITO WILDFIRE VICTIMS

 

 

Cases have significance for ratepayers if jurors find SDG&E liable for punitive damages

By Nadin Abbott; Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

June 21, 2013 (San Diego)—Six years after the Witch Creek/Guejito fires, which the California Public Utilities Commission found were caused by SDG&E’s lines, over 2,000 victims have reached settlements with SDG&E. But 16 victims have not settled or received any compensation from the utility for their losses.  Now a judge has ruled that some cases may proceed to trial.

At a court hearing on June 19, Judge Richard E. L. Strauss ruled that victims will finally have their day in court—in some cases, with a tort liability, all-issues trial. That could force SDG&E to pay punitive damages if a jury finds the utility was negligent and knew of fire hazards that it failed to correct.    

Judge Strauss has set a date for the all-issues trial to finally settle the remaining cases of the Witch Creek/ Rice and Guejito Fires of 2007. These were among the most destructive fires in San Diego history.

BOOK REVIEW: CIRCLE THE WAGONS SDG&E REKINDLES DEBATE OVER UTILITY LINES' ROLE IN LOCAL WILDFIRES

Circle The Wagons SDG&E: The Perfect Corporate Cover Up, By Ed Clark (Self-Published, Huntington Beach, CA, 2010, 30 pages.)

"Updated Version July 30, 2015"

With Cause of Witch Creek Fire Video

Book Review: By Dennis Moore

WHISTLEBLOWER: SDG&E QUIETLY CHANGED OUT DESIGN FLAW AT SITE OF PARADISE FIRE

 

 

Electrical expert asks if same changes have been made along other

lines he identified as fire risks; SDG&E does not

respond to inquiries

 

June 14, 2010 (San Diego) – Back in February 2009, East County Magazine published claims by electrical transmission expert Ed Clark, who contended that faulty power line installations caused the Paradise, Witch and Cedar Fires. Clark and two other experts consulted by ECM contended that SDG&E installations of two down-guy wires connected by a single bolt were dangerous.

 

Clark, who has headed up power line installations for Southern California Edison and served as an expert witness for SDG&E, argued that SDG&E's installations were also illegal, violating a state rule requiring 12 inches of separation on poles. He provided evidence of arcing including charred, black marks on anchor bolts at the base of the pole where the 2003 Paradise fire began.

OVER $27 MILLION FOR WITCH CREEK FIRE SURVIVORS RECOVERED BY CA DEPT. OF INSURANCE

November 10, 2009 (San Diego’s East County)--Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner yesterday announced that the Department of Insurance (CDI) has recovered more than $27 million from insurance companies for consumers. The recoveries were made through the department’s complaint process in the aftermath of the devastating Witch Creek fire in San Diego County that killed two people, destroyed 1,650 structures and burned more than 197,000 acres in Oct. 2007.

SDG&E THREATENS TO SUE WILDFIRE VICTIMS

By Miriam Raftery

February 2, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--San Diego Gas & Electric Company has notified attorneys representing fire victims that the utility company plans to sue victims of the 2007 wildfires. The announcement has sparked an angry response from some elected officials and residents in burned-out areas of East County.