BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — On Thursday, investigators said it could take months to pinpoint the cause of the devastating Marshall Fire, but a handful of victims are going after the power company now.
They’re suing Xcel Energy on the claim that their power lines and equipment sparked the fire.
This is the first legal action taken for the most destructive fire in Colorado’s history. It’s likely this lawsuit won’t be the last in connection with the Marshall Fire.
“It is unquestionable that there will be a series of lawsuits,” FOX31 legal expert Chris Decker said.
Class-action lawsuit filed in Marshall Fire
The first is a class-action lawsuit against Xcel Energy.
“The process of establishing a class must be done through the court and a court action,” Decker said. “This is the first attempt to establish a class of plaintiffs.”
This is a strategic move by attorneys representing a number of people affected by the fire against Xcel Energy. The attempt could legally identify a class of plaintiffs for cases to come.
“A class action is a group of individuals who are similarly situated, who have similar claims against a, or multiple, defendants,” Decker said.
The law firm handling the lawsuit is the Schack Law Group out of San Diego which, according to their website, has handled wildfire lawsuits before.
“If they are able to establish a class and represent the group of plaintiffs, then they would be in the driver’s seat of all of the litigations,” Decker said.
What caused the Marshall Fire?
Officials in Boulder County said their investigation into what caused the fire is not finished just yet, so why file a lawsuit before the case is closed?
“My guess is that they believe that they have sufficient evidence at this time to meet their claims and they also probably believe that as the investigation matures and we get more information, that will only support their claims,” Decker said.
For their part, Xcel Energy told FOX31 the power lines and equipment in question were thoroughly inspected and showed no signs that they started a fire.
The energy provider said it’s reviewing the lawsuit and will continue to work with authorities in the ongoing investigation.