Los Angeles County and a coalition of public agencies have reached a tentative settlement of their lawsuits against Southern California Edison and Edison International (SCE) to recover costs and damages from last year’s devastating Woolsey Fire. The settlement would require SCE to pay a total of $210 million to resolve lawsuits brought by the County and more than a dozen other Southern California public entities.
The County would receive roughly $62 million from SCE in the settlement. Additionally, the County will continue to seek federal disaster assistance reimbursement from the federal government for its costs for fighting the fire, recovery efforts and eligible damages.
“This settlement is an essential step toward accountability and continued recovery,” said LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, whose district includes most of the Woolsey fire burn area. “While this settlement won’t bring back people’s homes or businesses, it’s very important to hold SCE accountable for the devastation caused by this fire.”
The settlement would resolve lawsuits brought against SCE by 15 public entities, including Los Angeles County, Ventura County, and the cities of Malibu, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills, Calabasas and Hidden Hills. The settlement still needs to be finalized and documents filed with the court. It does not affect hundreds of pending lawsuits brought by individuals and their insurance companies.
The Woolsey Fire, the largest and most destructive in Los Angeles County history, started on Nov. 8, 2018 and burned for 13 days before it was contained. It consumed more than 96,000 acres, destroyed 1,500 buildings, damaged another 341 buildings and killed three people. A redacted cause and origin report prepared by Ventura County Fire indicated that SCE’s electrical equipment started the Woolsey Fire. SCE recently publicly acknowledged that it is likely that its equipment was “associated with the ignition of the Woolsey Fire.”
The funding will help compensate the County – and its taxpayers – for extensive firefighting and emergency response costs, recovery efforts, infrastructure damages, injury to natural resources, loss of tax revenue and other significant public losses as a result of the Woolsey Fire. More than 20 County departments and thousands of County employees were involved in responding to the Woolsey Fire and ongoing recovery efforts.