Bridgford, Gleason & Artinian is working with Jay Stuemke, Esq. of the Stuemke Law Firm PLLC in Kailua, HI who is Of Counsel on the Maui Fires.
Today Bridgford, Gleason and Artinian and the Stuemke Law Firm PLLC filed a complaint on behalf of numerous victims of the August 8th Lahaina Fire. Attorney Richard Bridgford stated:
“The tragedy here is that this firestorm was entirely avoidable. We believe that our complaint recounts for the first time IN DETAIL why this is true and what actually happened.
First, Hawaiian Electric’s assertion that there were 2 fires is inaccurate. The burn scar supports one fire and by its own admission in its press release, Hawaiian Electric admits its equipment caused the fire. Statements by the utility that a “morning fire” was contained and that there’s been no cause ascertained for the “afternoon fire” are incorrect and misleading. It’s a well-known fact that containment is not the same as total extinguishment. Here the embers from the fire the utility admits it caused with its downed power lines spread and ultimately devastated Lahaina. Frankly, the implication by Hawaiian Electric’s spokesman that the firefighters—who were busy responding to calls of downed power poles and lines throughout Lahaina and who ultimately risked their lives saving Lahaina residents—are somehow responsible for not extinguishing every ember of a fire caused by the failure of the utility’s equipment, is both offensive and outrageous.
Second, much has been made of the issue of the de-energization of the grid. By its own admission, Hawaiian Electric failed to de-energize the wires prior to the initial ignition in the morning and had no efficient and workable plan for doing so during dangerous wind conditions. Moreover, their failure to adopt the use of hurricane-resistant poles, such as in Florida, and their continued use of unstable wooden poles directly led to the failure of their equipment in the winds when they had adequate advance warning.
Third, all of this occurred as a result of what their financials reveal was their prioritization of big dividends and compensation over investment in public safety.
We have two goals here: One is to compensate the victims to the fullest extent permitted by law. Two is to force defendants to adopt many of the safety upgrades not currently present on Maui to protect the people, and to prevent this from ever happening again. These victims absolutely must be given a voice in the process of holding defendants accountable.”
Richard can be reached via his cell phone (949) 885-6674 and his email address firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the full complaint HERE
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