Maui County Sues Hawaiian Electric Over Deadly Wildfires

Skimming the Surface: Lawsuit Overview

A startling news flash from Maui, a paradise turned on its head as a ferocious wildfire at the beginning of this month claimed over 100 lives. It inflicted devastating property damages, running into billions of dollars. It’s a heart-wrenching tale, a grueling tragedy that the County of Maui has chosen to associate full square with Hawaiian Electric Company Inc. and the Maui Electric Company Ltd. The County is taking the electricity companies to court, accusing them of causing the disastrous inferno. The case will be heard in the courts of the Second Circuit for the State of Hawaii.

If this unnerving disaster’s fallout hit you hard, whether it gnawed at your financial stability due to loss of wages or property, or if you bore the brunt of the unrelenting flames through physical injuries, then you could potentially be a part of this unfolding class-action lawsuit.

Wading Deeper: The Lawsuit’s Grounds

According to the lawsuit, the County of Maui is contending that downed power lines owned by Hawaiian Electric sparked the deadly fires. This was amidst stacking odds with strong winds and an acute disregard for warnings issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) by the Defending companies. The Companies allegedly kept their equipment powered up despite explicit NWS alerts suggesting otherwise.

In the lawsuit’s chilling words, “Had Defendants heeded the NWS warnings and de-energized their powerlines during the predicted high-wind gusts, this destruction could have been avoided.”

Between the Lines: Debunking the Allegations

The lawsuit goes a step further, accusing Hawaiian Electric of gross negligence. Allegedly, despite a “fire weather watch” being issued as early as Aug. 6 followed by a perilous ‘red flag warning’ on Aug. 7 by NWS citing explosive fire danger due to Hurricane Dora’s potential impacts, Hawaiian Electric chose to keep the power lines active.

The papers argue that the fallen power lines sparked the unprecedented wildfires after contacting dried grass and brush in Kula, Lahaina, and Olinda. The irrevocable consequences were fatal: stratospheric property damage, untimely mortality, and personal injuries. “Defendants’ inactions caused loss of life, severe injuries, complete destruction of homes and businesses, displacement of thousands of people and damage to many of Hawai’i’s historic and cultural sites,” says the Maui wildfires lawsuit.

Maui is accusing the Electric companies of ultrahazardous activity, trespass, nuisance, gross negligence, and mere negligence. The County is requesting a jury trial and seeking compensatory damages, alongside restraining orders potentially set to curtail more havoc.

Impacted by Maui wildfires? The Legal Port of Call

Were you one of the unfortunate victims of the Maui wildfires? How has it affected you? Share your ordeal with us in the comments.

Rest assured, you’re not alone. Three different law firms have already filed a class-action lawsuit against the Hawaiian Electric powerhouses, arguing that the companies were willingly culpable for the wildfire crisis by deliberately choosing not to de-energize their power lines.

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