Wildfires and Utility Liability: Complying With New Regulations, Impact of PG&E Litigation

Project Development, Safety and Maintenance, Pursuing and Defending Claims

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will provide energy counsel an in-depth analysis of utility liability for wildfire claims and damages. The panel will discuss recent lawsuits against PG&E, new state regulations, the impact of wildfires and related laws on energy project development, safety and maintenance, and offer guidance on pursuing and defending claims stemming from wildfires and lack of compliance with federal or state regulations.


Wildfires have plagued multiple states resulting in complex litigation implicating utility companies and state and local governments. Attorneys within the energy sector must have an in-depth understanding of new state regulations impacting utility project development, safety and maintenance, along with new federal standards and guidance.

Utilities face the risk of being subject to mounting wildfire claims stemming from transmission lines or other infrastructure. Recently, PG&E filed bankruptcy in the face of billions of dollars of potential liability resulting from a link between its transmission infrastructure and the ignition of wildfires in California. State regulators have launched investigations into the role of utility companies play in contributing to wildfires and assess their fire mitigation plans to ensure compliance with state law.

Some western states impose strict liability against utility companies if proven that the utility's equipment caused the wildfire, while other states allow claims for negligence focused on failures in utility construction, safety or maintenance. Also, the federal government can pursue claims for negligence, trespass, and fire-suppression costs if a fire burns government lands or national forests.

Listen as our panel discusses the implications of the PG&E lawsuits on utility companies, recent state regulations, impact to power purchase agreements, and offer guidance in pursuing or defending claims.



  1. Impact of PG&E lawsuits
  2. Recent state regulations
  3. Potential federal liability and claims
  4. Impact to power purchase agreements
  5. Utility development, safety and maintenance considerations
  6. Best practices in pursuing or defending claims


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • How do the lawsuits against PG&E impact energy infrastructure?
  • What are the potential causes of action and defenses for utilities in wildfire claims?
  • Recent wildfire state regulations and impact to utilities
  • How do recent cases and state wildfire regulations impact power purchase agreements?
  • Techniques and best practices in pursuing or defending wildfire claims


Gimple, Randy
Randy W. Gimple

Carlson Calladine & Peterson

Mr. Gimple represents parties in cases involving catastrophic fires, explosions, floods, earthquakes, equipment...  |  Read More

Grotefeld, Mark
Mark S. Grotefeld

Founding Partner
Grotefeld Hoffmann

Mr. Grotefeld is a founding member of the firm. His trial practice is focused on complex civil cases involving matters...  |  Read More

Moore, Diane
Diane Marger Moore

Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman

Ms. Moore is triple board certified in three categories by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. She is a Board...  |  Read More

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