Do Maui Fire Lawyers Handle Cases Involving Wildfires on Public Lands?

Maui Fire Lawyers

Maui fire lawyers are tackling cases related to the deadly West Maui wildfire that claimed the lives of nearly 100 people, burned over 2,200 structures, and destroyed a swath of historic Lahaina. Several class action lawsuits have been filed in the last two weeks.

The most prominent involves a law firm representing a family of Lahaina fire victims. This lawsuit alleges that Hawaiian Electric did not properly maintain its power lines, and the resulting downed power lines ignited the blaze. The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

Many of the Maui fire lawyers raged on public lands and were fuelled by invasive shrubs and overgrown brush that had been neglected for decades. The fires spread quickly and ravaged the land, waterways, homes and other buildings. Some of the blazes reached within meters of populated areas, including schools and other public buildings.

Do Maui Fire Lawyers Handle Cases Involving Wildfires on Public Lands?

Governor Josh Green has praised the efforts of the firefighters and emergency response workers, but many residents are not satisfied with the response of local officials. They believe the government was slow to respond to the crisis, and they are blaming the fires on a lack of preparedness.

The controversy is over who should have been in charge of the crisis. Some are calling for the resignation of Maui County Administrator Jason Andaya, who was unable to adequately communicate with the community and with local and federal agencies. Andaya has a reputation as an arrogant, inefficient, and dishonest man. His actions have exacerbated the feelings of the citizens and contributed to the fires’ destructiveness.

sue Hawaiian Electric

In the aftermath of the blaze, many families have been displaced from their homes. The County is trying to accommodate these displaced residents by providing both in-person and telehealth counseling for children, their parents, and other family members. It has also arranged for schools to enroll displaced students.

Besides the widespread displacement, other issues arose in the wake of the Maui fires, most of which are tied to an ongoing fight for control of the island’s water. The calamity revealed how much Hawaiian water was being hoarded by plantations, luxury resorts, and other wealthy players.

The battle over water rights is being escalated by a number of Maui property owners who are utilizing a legal strategy that was employed in California following the 2017 North Bay fires and the 2018 Camp fires. This method of filing lawsuits against utilities eliminates the need to prove negligence and allows victims to receive a large award for their losses. It is based on the notion that Hawaii’s investor-owned utilities are akin to governmental bodies because they provide public electricity. As a result, they are legally required to take certain steps in order to protect their customers. This approach could lead to a massive payout for Hawaii’s fire victims. Whether this will work remains to be seen. It will be a difficult legal challenge for plaintiffs to win. The case hinges on whether a court agrees that Hawaiian Electric is a quasi-governmental body and is therefore required to act responsibly.

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