Sonoma County Plans to Sue PG&E for Fire Damage, Debris Removal Expenses
(by James Lanaras) – Sonoma County will file a lawsuit by late February against PG&E for damages to parkland and infrastructure the county sustained in the October wildfires.
The suit, which will be filed in San Francisco Superior Court, claims PG&E is responsible for tens of millions of dollars in fire damage and between $9 million and $23 million alone in debris removal expenses.
“We’re still determining the extent of the damage,” Sonoma County Counsel Bruce Goldstein said.
According to Goldstein, the suit is intended to make sure taxpayers do not pay the costs of the damage and cleanup expenses.
Napa and Mendocino counties and possibly Lake County are expected to join the suit as plaintiffs, Goldstein said.
The Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County that started Oct. 8 caused 24 deaths, burned an estimated 137 square miles and destroyed more than 5,100 homes.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously this week to retain California Fire Lawyers, a conglomeration of law firms including the law firm of Baron & Budd to handle the litigation, Goldstein said.
The suit is expected to be filed before a Feb. 26 status conference in San Francisco.
PG&E officials have stated the cause of the wildfires has not been determined and PG&E is focusing on its customers’ recovery from the fires and the restoration of services.