Baron & Budd, Cronin, Fried, Sekiya, Kekina & Fairbanks, and Diab Chambers File Kula Fire Lawsuit Against Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. on Behalf of Retired Maui Judge

August 17, 2023  |  Press Releases

Honolulu, HI—Today, the Honolulu law firm Cronin, Fried, Sekiya, Kekina & Fairbanks, along with the national law firm of Baron & Budd, P.C., and Diab Chambers, LLP, filed the first reported lawsuit for damages on behalf of a victim of the Kula Fire. The lawsuit, which was filed in Honolulu’s First Circuit Court, names Maui Electric Company Ltd., Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., Hawai’i Electric Light Company, Inc., and Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. as Defendants.

The lawsuit is filed on behalf of retired Maui Judge Shackley F. Raffetto who lost his home and other property during the Kula Fire last week. The Case Number is 1CCV-23-0001064.

“This lawsuit is the first known action on behalf of a Kula Fire victim,” said L. Richard Fried, Jr., founding partner of the Cronin Fried law firm. “The Maui Fires have devastated the Kula and Lahaina communities and our firm believes many more lawsuits will be filed on behalf of families, property owners, and businesses seeking compensation for their losses.”

The lawsuit alleges that Maui Electric and the other defendants failed to shut off their power lines despite Red Flag and High Wind Watch Warning from the National Weather Service and the Maui Emergency Management Agency. The suit further alleges that on or around August 8, 2023, the defendants’ electrical equipment caused the Kula Fire which burned down retired Judge Raffetto’s home and property.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s initial reported assessment estimated that the Maui Fires caused over $5 billion of damage. The death toll in the Maui Fires has risen to at least 106 according to local Maui County officials, but several more homes and areas remain to be searched.

Cronin, Fried, Sekiya, Kekina & Fairbanks was founded 50 years ago in 1973 and has been a premier Hawai’i plaintiff’s firm representing families and tort victims in some of Hawaii’s largest and most important cases, including more than 50 verdicts and settlements in excess of $1 million.

Baron & Budd is one of the nation’s oldest and most revered national law firms, having represented 95 public entities and thousands of wildfire claimants including individuals, families, and businesses in lawsuits against utility-caused wildfires.

Baron & Budd’s wildfire practice is based in San Diego, California and includes as co-counsel the San Diego law firm of Diab Chambers. Together Baron & Budd and Diab Chambers have recovered more than $1.5 billion in wildfire damages for their clients.

About Baron & Budd, P.C.

Baron & Budd, P.C. is among the largest and most accomplished plaintiffs’ law firms in the country. With more than 40 years of experience, Baron & Budd has the expertise and resources to handle complex litigation throughout the United States. As a law firm that takes pride in remaining at the forefront of litigation, Baron & Budd has spearheaded many significant cases for hundreds of public entities and tens of thousands of individuals. Since the firm was founded in 1977, Baron & Budd has achieved substantial national acclaim for its work on cutting-edge litigation, trying hundreds of cases to verdict and settling tens of thousands of cases in areas of litigation as diverse and significant as dangerous and highly addictive pharmaceuticals, defective medical devices, asbestos and mesothelioma, wildfires, environmental contamination, fraudulent banking practices, e-cigarettes, motor vehicles, federal whistleblower cases, and other consumer fraud issues.

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