Just one week after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a sweeping piece of legislation designed to change the way California’s utilities pay for damages resulting from wildfires ignited by their own equipment, a lawsuit was filed in federal court Friday looking to stop it in its tracks.
San Diego attorneys Michael Aguirre and Maria Severson filed the complaint on behalf of Northern California resident Gene Nelson, arguing Assembly Bill 1054 should be declared invalid on multiple grounds, including that its provisions violate the U.S..and California’s constitutions.
More specifically, the lawsuit characterizes AB 1054 as a “bailout” of the state’s big three investor-owned utilities that “as a practical matter, it is now nearly impossible for utility customers to prevent (a utility) from passing uninsured wildfire liabilities onto them.” The complaint asks the U.S. District Court in Northern California to issue an injunction to keep the state from implementing the new law.
The suit names the heads of a host of California agencies and the five voting members of the California Public Utilities Commission as defendants.
Lawsuit filed to stop California’s new wildfire liability law, by Rob Nikolewski, The San Diego Union-Tribune, July 19, 2019.