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 $1.62 billion dollars for his public entity clients since December 2018 alone. John Fiske is the 2020 California Lawyer Attorney of the Year in Environmental Litigation and a seven time consecutive Super Lawyer.
John Fiske has been instrumental in the wildfire litigation in California. He has resolved more than $1.45 billion worth of public resource damages for over 50 public entities statewide against investor-owned utilities Pacific Gas & Electric Company and Southern California Edison. Mr. Fiske led the lobbying efforts in the California State Legislature in 2018 and 2019 to preserve California’s inverse condemnation rights for public entities and wildfire victims. He has been court-appointed Co-Lead Counsel for Public Entities multiple times in multiple cases. And, Mr. Fiske was featured on CNN and HBO’s Vice News for wildfire policy, litigation, and legislation.
Mr. Fiske’s public entity wildfire settlements include $582 million in the Camp Fire, $415 million in the North Bay Fires, $210 million in the Woolsey Fire, $150 million in the Thomas Fire, $31 million in the Kincade Fire, $25.4 million in the Butte Fire, and $12.36 million in the Zogg Fire, among other settlements.
Against PG&E, Mr. Fiske was 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, Town of Windsor, Shasta County, and Tehama County.
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, and Conejo Valley Recreation and Park District. His representation covers the 2018 Woolsey Fire and the 2017 Thomas Fire and resulting Montecito Debris Flow.
Against Liberty Utilities in the Mountain View Fire cases, he represents Mono County, Antelope Valley Fire Protection District, Toiyabe Indian Health Project, Inc., Lone Pine Shoshone Tribe, and Bridgeport Indian Colony. Against Pacific Power in the Slater Fire, Mr. Fiske represents Siskiyou County.
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 75 school districts and public entities across the nation including some of the nation’s largest districts like Los Angeles Unified and Chicago Public Schools. He also represents the Office of the Attorney General in the State of Mississippi. Additional information on this action can be found at www.schoolvapingcrisis.com.
Mr. Fiske represents the largest group 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 32 California counties and five 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, 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, City of Lakeport, City of Clearlake, City of Chico, and also the City of Portland in Oregon.
In June 2020, Mr. Fiske announced an $818 million settlement package with Monsanto for over 2,500 public entities for PCB water contamination. Mr. Fiske 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 2021, 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 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.
- “Unnatural Disasters,” Trial Magazine, American Association for Justice, January 2019
- “Poison in the Well,” Trial Magazine, American Association for Justice, August 2016
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
The Best Lawyers in America – Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs (Best Lawyers, 2022)
California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (Daily Journal, 2020)
Top 40 Under 40 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers (National Trial Lawyers, 2017)
Super Lawyer (Thomson Reuters, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022)
The Burton Award for Legal Writing (2016)
American Association for Justice – Environmental Law Section
Consumer Attorneys of California
Consumer Attorneys of San Diego