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Do Maui Fire Lawyers Work With Experts in Fire Investigation and Prevention?

Do Maui Fire Lawyers Work

As the fires ravaged through Maui last week, residents began filing lawsuits against Hawaiian Electric. One of those lawsuits has drawn attention for a lawmaker’s involvement. The lawsuits accuse Hawaiian Electric of failing to properly maintain its power lines, a common cause of wildfires. They also allege that the company knowingly allowed its equipment to be exposed to dangerous conditions and did not use available funding to make the power grid safer.

The Maui fire lawyers allege that a chain of events led to the fire that destroyed many homes and displaced thousands. They claim that the fire was started when a downed power line ignited vegetation underneath it. The plaintiffs further allege that the fire grew out of control because Hawaiian Electric did not take steps to prevent it, such as shutting off the power during a hurricane-force windstorm or using its existing funds for safety upgrades and vegetation management.

Hawaii’s largest utility is facing lawsuits from both residents of Lahaina and the company’s own investors. The lawsuits seek unspecified damages for property and natural resource damage. The county of Maui has also filed its own lawsuit against Hawaiian Electric, accusing the utility of negligence and claiming that it could have prevented the fires by following best practices.

Do Maui Fire Lawyers Work With Experts in Fire Investigation and Prevention?

According to the lawsuits, Hawaiian Electric was aware of its high risk for wildfires and knew that its equipment could be damaged by the wind-driven storm. The lawsuits point to videos, witness accounts, and the burned remains of utility equipment as evidence that Hawaiian Electric failed to prepare for the storm.

Hawaiian Electric fire lawyers

One of the lawsuits against Hawaiian Electric names State Sen. Gilbert Keith-Agaran as a co-plaintiff. Agaran is a partner at the law firm Takatani Agaran Jorgensen & Wildman, which has partnered with the national law firm Morgan & Morgan. The suit also mentions that Agaran is a member of the New York-based Energy Justice Law & Policy Center, an organization advocating for renewable energy.

The lawsuits against the Hawaiian Electric companies allege that the companies were negligent in not shutting off their power during the strong winds caused by Hurricane Dora. It is standard for utility companies to shut off their power during extreme wind conditions, especially after California experienced devastating wildfires.

The lawsuits also assert that the company failed to follow recommendations from a 2022 report by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission and UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute. The lawsuits further allege that Hawaiian Electric did not spend the money it received from the PUC to make its power system safe. The company denied those allegations and noted that it spent $84 million on general maintenance and tree work, and another $44 million on a statewide wildfire mitigation plan. The lawsuits are seeking tens of millions in compensation for the victims. They are being filed by a dozen families.

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