Lawsuit Filed Against Los Angeles Department of Water & Power For Victims of Creek Fires

– Lawsuit alleges LADWP failed to maintain and inspect power lines, as well as heed severe weather warnings of potential dangers associated with drought and high winds –

LOS ANGELES – Trial law firms McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP, Frantz Law Group, APLC,  Bridgford, Gleason & Artinian and Becker Law Group have filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) and the City of Los Angeles on behalf of victims of the “Creek Fires,” after the utility company’s electrical long-distance transmission lines ignited 15 miles of widespread fires. The lawsuit alleges that LADWP negligently installed and maintained its electrical equipment for the area with disregard to the known wildfire risks, as well as failed to heed high wind weather warnings from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (“CalFire”) and the National Weather Service to safeguard the impact to the overhead power lines. The plaintiffs involved have suffered economic and non-economic damages, including extreme property damage and loss, personal injury, emotional distress and more.

During the days leading up to the fire impact, one of the many weather and wildfire experts, including Bill Gabbert of Wild Fire Today, primitively warned, “If fire ignition occurs, there will be the potential for rapid spread of wildfire with extreme fire behavior that could lead to a threat of life and property.”

“The National Weather Service issued a multitude of ‘Red Flag’ warnings and ‘Fire Weather Watches’ across Southern California due to the low humidity, record-high temperatures, and anticipated 50-mph wind gusts in the region. Such warnings should have created significant concern and preventative action from LADWP,” said Patrick McNicholas, Partner at McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP. “They failed to take reasonable precautions to protect residents from a clearly foreseeable risk, and their conscious disregard for safety caused devastation throughout nine communities.”

Background Information

Beginning on December 5, 2017, a 10-day-long blaze destroyed 15,619 acres of land across nine communities within Los Angeles County, including Santa Clarita, Olive View, Lake View Terrace, Sunland-Tujunga, Shadow Hills, Sylmar, Pacoima, Lopez Canyon and Kagel Canyon. The “Creek Fires” destroyed or damaged 204 homes and non-residential structures, and threatened thousands more.

The fires became ignited and spread wildly as a result of the intensity of the annual Santa Ana winds that whipped the high-voltage power lines, which contained an excessive amount of slack caused by heat stress and LADWP’s failure to inspect and maintain proper tension of the lines. In turn, the aluminum and steel lines snapped in the extreme weather conditions, creating a perfect fire starter to dry ground vegetation coupled with the high temperature and low humidity of the season.

As the largest municipal electric utility in the nation and supplier of over 24 million megawatt hours of electricity a year for 1.4 million LA customers, LADWP has a duty to consistently maintain a high standard of safety for the communities that it serves, at all times. Had LADWP followed the necessary standard of care in inspecting, maintaining and repairing its ultra-high-powered transmission lines, the “Creek Fires” catastrophe could have been mitigated. Instead, it has left residents struggling to secure basic living necessities and return to their regular way of life.


McNicholas & McNicholas, a Los Angeles-based plaintiff’s trial law firm, represents clients in the areas of catastrophic personal injury, employment law, class actions, sexual abuse and other consumer-oriented matters such as civil rights, aviation disasters and product liability. Founded by a family of attorneys spanning three generations, McNicholas & McNicholas has been trying cases to jury verdict on behalf of their clients for more than five decades.

McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP

10866 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1400

Los Angeles, CA 90024

Phone: 310-474-1582

Fax: 310-475-7871

3558 Round Barn Blvd., Suite 215

Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Phone: 707-236-6316

Fax: 619-525-7672

Frantz Law Group, a California-based law firm with offices in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno, Bakersfield and Riverside, represents plaintiffs in personal injury litigation cases throughout California and nationwide.

Frantz Law Group

402 West Broadway, Suite 860

San Diego, CA 92101

Phone: 855-930-2626

3558 Round Barn Blvd., Suite 215

Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Phone: 707-236-6316

Fax: 619-525-7672

Bridgford, Gleason & Artinian is a Los Angeles-based trial law firm, specializing in business, insurance, employment, trust and estate, real estate, personal injury, wrongful death and construction defect.

Bridgford, Gleason & Artinian

26 Corporate Plaza, Suite 250

Newport Beach, CA 92660

Phone: 949-831-6611

Fax: 949-831-6622

3558 Round Barn Blvd., Suite 215

Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Phone: 707-236-6316

Fax: 619-525-7672

The Becker Law Group is a California-based law firm, specializing in personal injury, wrongful death, bankruptcy, immigration, IP law, international trade law, medical malpractice, business law, employment law and fire property damage.

Becker Law Group

117 E. Colorado Boulevard, Suite 500

Pasadena, CA 91105

Phone: 626-777-7700

Fax: 626-714-7603

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