John Fiske is California’s leading public entity-as-plaintiff lawyer, having resolved over $1.385 billion dollars for public entities in the past two years. He has dedicated his career to “protecting what’s right” in so many ways: mentoring youth, rescuing farm animals, and seeking justice for those whose health and homes have been decimated by polluters and the manufacturers of pollutants throughout the United States. Mr. Fiske represents large public entities including the Counties of Baltimore, Los Angeles and San Diego, the cities of Long Beach, San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley, Chula Vista, Portland, Port of Portland, Spokane, Seattle, Tacoma and Baltimore, and the State of Washington in environmental and public nuisance actions against Monsanto Company for polluting America’s waterways with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). He has been appointed a Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Washington in the case.

Mr. Fiske is lead counsel for the Town of Paradise, Butte County, and the Paradise Recreation & Parks District in the case against PG&E for the 2018 Camp Fire. Mr. Fiske represents these public entities in state court and in federal bankruptcy proceedings. Mr. Fiske is also lead counsel for the Cities of Malibu, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village, Calabasas, Thousand Oaks and Hidden Hills, the County of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Flood Control District, the Consolidated Fire Protection District of Los Angeles County, Ventura County, the Ventura County Watershed Protection District, the Ventura County Fire Protection District, the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District, the Conejo Recreation and Park District, and the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency against Southern California Edison for damages related to the 2018 Woolsey Fire. On behalf of 23 public entities injured by the 2017 Thomas and 2018 Woolsey Fires, Mr. Fiske recently resolved with SoCal Edison the local public and taxpayer losses for $360 million. And, on behalf of 17 public entities injured by the 2017 North Bay and 2018 Camp Fires, Mr. Fiske recently resolved with PG&E the local public and taxpayer losses for $1 billion, which is working its way through the complex PG&E Chapter 11 Bankruptcy case.

Mr. Fiske represents the Counties of Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake, the City and County of Ventura, the City and County of Santa Barbara, the Montecito Water District, Fire Protection Districts and other public entities in both Northern and Southern California in litigation against PG&E and SoCal Edison for damages resulting from the devastating wildfires of 2017. In addition to several public entities, Mr. Fiske represents thousands of families and businesses who lost everything due to the negligent maintenance, inspection, and operations of these investor-owned utilities. Mr. Fiske also represents Calaveras County in the Butte 2015 Wildfire and has recovered $25.4 million on behalf of the County. John Fiske has been featured on CNN and HBO Vice regarding wildfire safety and utility negligence.

Mr. Fiske also represents the interests of approximately 10.5 million California residents through the California Opioid Consortium, a group of more than 30 counties in California that are suing the nation’s largest pharmaceutical distributors and manufacturers for their role in creating the devastating opioid epidemic. The Consortium is comprised of the following cities and counties: City of Chula Vista, Counties of Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Inyo, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Benito, San Diego, Shasta, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, and Yuba.

Since 2015, Mr. Fiske has represented students and teachers exposed to toxic fumes by the multi-billion dollar aerospace company Ametek, Inc., which improperly dumped toxic chemicals into groundwater, creating one of the largest trichloroethylene (TCE) plumes in the state of California. In addition to monetary damages, the lawsuit seeks medical monitoring on behalf of nearby mobile home residents and current and former instructors and pupils in an elementary school located just a few yards from the toxic plume.

It’s not only toxic fumes from aerospace companies from which John Fiske strives to protect children. In 2019, Mr. Fiske and his team filed a class action lawsuit with other law firms on behalf of the Los Angeles Unified School District against JUUL Labs, Inc., the leading e-cigarette manufacturer, for creating an epidemic of youth vaping that has infiltrated the second-largest school district in the country, impeding student learning and putting the health and safety of more than 600,000 Los Angeles Unified students at risk. Mr. Fiske also has been retained by San Diego Unified School District, Glendale Unified School District, and Anaheim Elementary School District to bring similar actions against JUUL.

John Fiske earned his law license at age 23 after attending California Western School of Law, a private, non-profit law school located in San Diego which was founded in 1924. Mr. Fiske attended law school on a full scholarship and served as Associate Editor of the Law Review while there.

Mr. Fiske has been declared a Super Lawyer in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. In 2013, San Diego Metro Magazine named John Fiske to its list of “40 Under 40” (people to watch). He was a 2012 “Top Influential” (The Daily Transcript), a 2009 “Top Young Attorney” (The Daily Transcript), and a 2007 “50 People to Watch” (San Diego Magazine). Mr. Fiske has also served as a Barrister with the Louis M. Welsh Inn of Court, an amalgam of judges and lawyers who come together throughout the year to improve the skills, professionalism and ethics of the bench and bar.

John Fiske is a past-president of the board of directors of the San Diego Brain Injury Foundation, getting involved after obtaining a $10.8 million jury verdict for a brain-injured client. He has also served as an advisory board member for the University of California San Diego’s Bannister Family House, which acts as a home away from home for families of patients undergoing long-term care. In addition, Mr. Fiske has been a board member of Solutions: Exploring Success Post-High School, which provides an affordable way for high school students and their families to shape a clear, actionable vision of their post-high school path based on individual interests, aptitudes, and financial resources. On top of that, Mr. Fiske served as a “Red Coat” for the San Diego Bowl Game Association, a group of dedicated men and women who volunteer their time throughout the bowl’s year-around events, leading up to and including the Holiday and Poinsettia Bowl games in San Diego. And as if all that were not enough, Mr. Fiske mentored two young men in a very personal way, by having been a “Big Brother” to two “Little Brothers” in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America organization.

When John Fiske is not discussing legal topics on television, including programming on Fox, ABC, KPBS, and KUSI, he spends time riding horseback, snorkeling, hiking and camping. He’s stays fit by racing in the Spartan Beast, Ragnar Relay and Tough Mudder competitions.

In 2016, Mr. Fiske founded the San Diego Farm Animal Rescue, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing horses, pigs, hens, and roosters. As relayed by the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union Tribune, SDFA Rescue educates people about the environmental impacts of large-scale animal agriculture while providing a unique interactive experience for visitors. In 2016, San Diego Magazine named Mr. Fiske’s rescue organization San Diego’s “Best Animal Encounter Experience”. Baron & Budd is extremely proud to have this dedicated public servant and compassionate human being in our San Diego office.


Publications

  • “Unnatural Disasters,” Trial Magazine, American Association for Justice, January 2019
  • “Poison in the Well,” Trial Magazine, American Association for Justice, August 2016

Education

San Diego State University, San Diego, California, B.A., 2004, Political Science, Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa

California Western School of Law, San Diego, California, J.D., 2006, Law Review, Dean’s List, Trustee Scholar, Cum Laude

Bar & Court Admissions

California State Bar

United States District Court for the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Central Districts of California

United States District Court for the Western and Eastern Districts of Washington

United States District Court for the District of Oregon

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana

United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Awards

Top 40 Under 40 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers (National Trial Lawyers, 2017)

Super Lawyer (Thomson Reuters, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)

The Burton Award for Legal Writing (2016)

Professional Associations

American Association for Justice – Environmental Law Section

Consumer Attorneys of California

Consumer Attorneys of San Diego