California Fire Lawyers Investigating Thomas, Creek and Rye Fires in Southern California

December 18, 2017  |  Environmental, Press Releases, Wildfire

Initial reports indicate negligence on behalf of Southern California Edison may be responsible for tragic blaze

LOS ANGELES, December 18, 2017 – Today, nationally recognized attorneys from Baron & Budd; Singleton Law Firm; Dixon Diab & Chambers LLP; Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire LLP; and Terry Singleton, Esq., collectively known as the California Fire Lawyers, announced that the team is actively investigating the Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, the Creek Fire in Los Angeles County, and the Rye Fire in Los Angeles County.

The Thomas Fire began on Dec. 4th has burned more than 270,000 acres. According to CNN, the fire is on course to become the largest wildfire in modern California history. The fires have destroyed or damaged more than 1,000 structures and have claimed the life of at least one California resident. The Thomas Fire continues to burn and is reported to be 45 percent contained as of Dec. 18.

“Southern California is where I call home and where I am raising my family. As with many disastrous events, there is a certain degree of disbelief related to the severity of the situation. These fires raged and tore through communities overnight. The recovery process for something like this is far-reaching, and still, the fires continue to take a physical and emotional toll on our families, friends, neighbors and citizens,” said Baron & Budd Attorney John Fiske. “I am thankful that I work with a team that is deeply experienced assessing and investigating wildfires. We have the resources to fight big corporations and hold them accountable for the environmental devastation they may have caused. The California Fire Lawyers are committed to making this right for our communities across the state.  Much has been lost, but we hope our efforts will help people start rebuilding their lives.”

Southern California Edison (SCE) issued a press release last week, noting that investigations by CAL FIRE, other fire agencies and the California Public Utilities Commission indicate that SCE facilities may have played a role in the wildfires. In 2013, the California Public Utilities Commission fined SCE $37 million for its role in causing the 2007 Malibu fire.

The Southern California wildfires are the latest in a series of blazes across the state. Earlier this year, fires burned more than 200,000 acres in Northern California including Tubbs, Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, and Butte Counties. California Fire Lawyers currently represent more than 500 plaintiffs in a suit against Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), which alleges the fires began when electrical infrastructure owned, operated, and maintained by PG&E came into contact with vegetation inspected and maintained by PG&E.

The California Fire Lawyers are now investigating the cause of the devastating wildfires in Southern California. If you were impacted by these fires and wish to discuss your legal options, please call us at (805) 491-9947. Additional information can be found online at


Baron & Budd, P.C., is one of the largest and most accomplished plaintiffs’ law firms in the country. Lead attorneys Russell Budd, Scott Summy and Roland Tellis were selected to the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Mr. Budd has been selected to Best Lawyers every year since 2014 and Mr. Summy has been selected to Best Lawyers every year since 2006. Baron & Budd lawyers have served in leadership positions on the majority of the major, mass tort litigations in the past two decades. Mr. Summy was one of four attorneys to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in the 2010 BP Oil Spill case, and he was instrumental in negotiating the more than $15 billion settlement obtained on behalf of the individual plaintiffs. In 2014 Baron & Budd was named to the list of America’s Elite Trial Lawyers by The National Law Journal. This illustrious list is comprised of 50 law firms that have achieved significant results on behalf of plaintiffs within the previous year and have an established track record of delivering impressive results. Baron & Budd has been repeatedly selected by The Legal 500 as one of the country’s premier law firms in mass tort claims and class action litigation. In its 40 year history, Baron & Budd has handled over 10,000 wrongful death cases and has pioneered numerous areas of litigation.


Singleton Law Firm, based in San Diego, is one of the top fire litigation firms in the state of California. Over the past decade, SLF has represented thousands of individuals in major fires all over the state of California, and has recovered over $650 million for its clients in fire cases. Lead attorney Gerald Singleton has served as Liaison Counsel and on the Executive Committees in some of the largest fires in the state. Mr. Singleton and Erika Vasquez, head of the firm’s fire litigation division, currently represent over 2,000 individuals in the 2015 Butte Fire, which was a catastrophic fire started by PG&E power lines that burned over 70,000 acres in Calaveras and Amador counties. The firm recently represented the largest individual group of plaintiffs in the 2013 Powerhouse Fire in Los Angeles County, and Mr. Singleton served as Liaison Counsel for that case. Prior to the Powerhouse Fire, Singleton Law Firm was one of four firms who teamed up in a joint venture to represent over 1,600 individuals in the 2007 San Diego Fires.


The lawyers at Dixon Diab & Chambers LLP have gained national recognition as being some of the top litigators in their respective areas of practice. Ed Diab leads the firm’s fire litigation practice and has litigated numerous wildfire cases throughout the country. He was actively involved in the widely publicized lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric arising out of the 2010 San Bruno Gas Pipeline Explosion that leveled 38 homes and killed 8. He also currently represents numerous people in lawsuits against Pacific Gas & Electric that sustained significant property damages arising out of the 2015 Butte Fire in Amador/Calaveras County that burned over 70,000 acres. Both Deborah Dixon and Robert Chambers have significant experience litigating complex, multi-party lawsuits against entities and insurance companies on behalf of individuals and businesses. Their experience in personal injury, business litigation, products liability and class actions provide integral background for fire cases, as does their direct experience handling claims on behalf of victims who suffered personal injury and property damages because of fires.  The firm also has substantial experience representing families in wrongful death cases, having handled more than 150 such claims and recovering millions of dollars on the families’ behalf.


Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire is a high-end, civil litigation firm that specializes in serious personal injury and wrongful death, condemnation, inverse condemnation, and construction defect litigation.  Since its founding in 1978, the firm has recovered over $1 billion on behalf of its clients.  TBM annually earns numerous commendations, among them designations by American Lawyer Magazine as one of the top 20 firms in the Nation. The firm was recognized as Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report and received the prestigious Tier One ranking for San Diego in the categories of Mass Torts Litigation and Personal Injury Litigation. The firm has received numerous “Outstanding Trial Lawyer,” “Trial Lawyer of the Year,” and “Best Lawyers in America”, and just received the prestigious “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report for 2018.


Terry Singleton is a San Diego-based attorney with more than 40 years of experience in civil litigation. Mr. Singleton has successfully tried dozens of cases to verdict and has obtained over 50 verdicts or settlements in excess of $1 million dollars in personal injury, utility fire/negligence and/or wrongful death cases. This includes obtaining one of the largest verdicts ever awarded in a wrongful death case in Imperial County. Mr. Singleton has more than 20 years of experience managing utility-caused wildfire litigation, beginning with the 1993 Guejito Fire in Escondido, California. He served as one of two lead trial attorneys for the largest group of plaintiffs in the 2007 San Diego Wildfires, which included the City and County of San Diego, and recently was one of the trial lawyers who successfully conducted a jury trial resulting from the 2011 Las Conchas fire in New Mexico, where he represented individuals and the Native American Pueblos of Cochiti and Jemez against an electrical distribution and a transmission/generation cooperative. Mr. Singleton, a US Army volunteer and Vietnam veteran, is also an active member of the community. In recent years, his pro bono work has included working to free a young man from prison who was wrongfully convicted of murder in 2000. He has also routinely been recognized as a top personal injury lawyer by San Diego “Super Lawyers.”

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