John Fiske is California’s leading public entity-as-plaintiff lawyer and a shareholder in the San Diego offices of Baron & Budd. Since joining the firm in 2016, Mr. Fiske has obtained significant settlements on behalf of communities, having resolved more than $1.395 billion dollars for his public entity clients since December 2018 alone.

John Fiske has been instrumental in the wildfire litigation in California. He has resolved $1.395 billion worth of public resource damages for 45 public entities statewide against investor-owned utilities Pacific Gas & Electric Company and Southern California Edison. Mr. Fiske led the legislative lobbying efforts in the California State Legislature in 2018 and 2019 to preserve California’s inverse condemnation rights for all public entities and wildfire victims alike. He is court-appointed Co-Lead Counsel for Public Entities. Mr. Fiske was featured on CNN and HBO’s Vice News for wildfire policy, litigation, and legislation.

Against wildfire defendant PG&E, Mr. Fiske is lead counsel for the Town of Paradise, Butte County, Paradise Recreation and Park District, Sonoma County and several related agencies, City of Santa Rosa, Napa County, City of Napa, Lake County, City of Clearlake, Mendocino County, Yuba County, Nevada County, Calaveras County, Calaveras County Water District, West Point Fire District, Ebbetts Pass Fire District, San Andreas Fire District, City of Chico, Thermalito Water and Sewer District, Butte-Glenn Community College District, City of Cloverdale, and Town of Windsor. His representation covers the 2019 Kincade Fire, 2018 Camp Fire, 2017 North Bay Fires, and 2015 Butte Fire.

Against Southern California Edison, Mr. Fiske is lead counsel for Los Angeles County, Los Angeles County Flood Control District, Los Angeles County Consolidated Fire Protection District, City of Malibu, Santa Barbara County and several related agencies, City of Santa Barbara, Ventura County and several related agencies, City of Ventura, City of Thousand Oaks, City of Westlake Village, City of Agoura Hills, City of Hidden Hills, City of Calabasas, Montecito Water Protection District, Montecito Fire Protection District, Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District, Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency, Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District, and Conejo Valley Recreation and Park District. His representation covers the 2018 Woolsey Fire and the 2017 Thomas Fire and resulting Montecito Debris Flow.

In December 2019, Mr. Fiske announced a historic agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services that reimburses federal and state disaster relief funds. This is the first accord of its kind in the nation.

Mr. Fiske also strives to protect public education. He is court-appointed Co-Lead Counsel for Public Entities and School Districts in the California JUUL litigation. He represents more than 20 school districts that serve in excess of one million students, including the nation’s second-largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, and California’s second-largest school district, San Diego Unified. Mr. Fiske also represents Glendale Unified, Compton Unified, Poway Unified, Ceres Unified, Chico Unified, Davis Joint Unified, Rocklin Unified, Monterey Peninsula Unified, North Monterey County Unified, Castro Valley Unified, Anaheim Elementary, King City Union, Cajon Valley Union, Acalanes Union High, Anaheim Union High, and Campbell Union High.

Mr. Fiske represents a large majority of California’s litigating public entities in the case against opioid manufacturers, distributors, and national retailers. Mr. Fiske created the California Opioid Consortium, consisting of 33 California counties and two cities, which collectively serve more than 11 million Californians. He represents San Diego County, Sacramento County, Contra Costa County, City of San Jose, City of Chula Vista, Mendocino County, Calaveras County, Lake County, Nevada County, Yuba County, Butte County, Imperial County, Shasta County, Placer County, El Dorado County, Sutter County, San Benito County, Trinity County, Lassen County, Tuolumne County, Fresno County, Inyo County, Glenn County, Modoc County, Amador County, Del Norte County, Siskiyou County, Merced County, Mariposa County, Monterey County, Plumas County, Mono County, Madera County, Tehama County, Yolo County, and also the City of Portland in Oregon.

Mr. Fiske also represents states, counties, cities, and port districts in cases against Monsanto Company for manufacturing, selling, and promoting PCB chemicals, which are one of the largest water contaminants in the nation. Mr. Fiske represents Los Angeles County, Baltimore County, City of Baltimore, City of San Diego, City of Chula Vista, City of Long Beach, City of San Jose, City of Oakland, City of Berkeley, City of Portland, Port of Portland, City of Tacoma, City of Spokane, the District of Columbia, the State of New Mexico, and the State of Washington, as a special assistant attorney general.

Mr. Fiske has been named a Super Lawyer in 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015. In 2013, San Diego Metro Magazine named John Fiske to its list of “40 Under 40.” He was named a “Top Influential” by The Daily Transcript in 2012, a “Top Young Attorney” by the Daily Transcript in 2009, and one of “50 People to Watch” by San Diego Magazine in 2007. Recently, he has authored two legal articles, including “Unnatural Disasters” and “Poison in the Well,” which won a Burton Award for Legal Writing. Mr. Fiske appears regularly on national television and radio programs discussing legal and legislative matters affecting national and state policy.

Mr. Fiske has a long history of charitable work. The Fiske Family Foundation actively supports public educational and recreational opportunities for all. In 2016, he founded the San Diego Farm Animal Rescue, a 501(c)3 corporation that has rescued, housed, and/or re-homed approximately 100 horses, pigs, and chickens at his family farm in Elfin Forest, California. He is a past-president of the San Diego Brain Injury Foundation, a former advisory board member of UC San Diego’s Bannister Family House, a former board member of Solutions: Exploring Success Post-High School, a Red Coat of the San Diego Bowl Game Association (Holiday and Poinsettia Bowls), and a former Big Brother.


Publications

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

Education

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

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

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