Once again, wildfires are raging across the length of California, from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Once again, the electricity transmission facilities of PG&E are thought to have caused or contributed to at least some of the wildfires. And once again, in the wake of the wildfires, shareholders have launched a securities class action lawsuit against company executives. As discussed below, the new lawsuit is the latest example of the way in which transformative changes arising from climate change can lead to directors’ and officers’ liability litigation.
Continue Reading Securities Suit Arising From Climate Change-Caused Conditions Hits Utility

The Northern California wildfire known as the Camp Fire – reportedly the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history – has finally been fully contained. But while the fire has been doused, the fight about the fire has only just begun. Investigators will now undertake to determine the fire’s cause. And the inevitable lawsuits will now get rolling as well.

As I noted last week, investors already filed a wildfire-related securities class action lawsuit while the fires were still burning. And now a shareholder has filed a shareholder derivative lawsuit in federal court against the board and certain officers of PG&E Corp., and its regulated utility operating company, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, relating to the companies’ alleged role in causing the Camp Fire. As discussed below, this recent lawsuits may represent examples of the kinds of lawsuits we may expect to see in increasing numbers as a result of climate change-related effects. The derivative lawsuit complaint, filed in the Northern District of California on November 21, 2018, can be found in two parts here and here.
Continue Reading Further Wildfire-Related Management Liability Litigation: Harbinger of Things to Come?

The recent massive wildfires in California have caused the loss of dozens of lives, and many more people are missing. Thousands have been displaced and many millions more have been affected. The property damage has been devastating. The Camp Fire in Northern California alone has destroyed tens of thousands of 10,000 homes and businesses. Even as the fires raged, questions surrounding the fires’ causes were raised. Media stories have circulated raising the possibility that the electric utilities may be to blame for starting the fires. There undoubtedly will be substantial inquiries and perhaps even liability proceedings. Now it appears that the accountability process may not only include efforts by property owners and survivor and loved ones to recoup their losses, but it may also include securities lawsuits by utility company investors who claim they were misled about the company’s fire safety readiness and potential liability exposure.
Continue Reading First, Wildfires. Then What? Securities Litigation, Of Course