Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative Gross Negligence
This blog post has been edited. It was originally posted on May 13, 2014. Facts of this case may have developed or changed since the original post date. Settlements/verdicts may have been reached or are in progress.
At least 70 insurance companies and 58 wildfire victims filed lawsuits against Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative in 2011 following the outbreak of wildfires that wreaked havoc to the Bastrop Complex over Labor Day Weekend. Bluebonnet has settled dozens of these lawsuits so far.
2011 was a year of historic drought in Texas. High winds, hot temperatures, low humidity and dry grass set the stage for the Bastrop Complex fire. The Texas Forest Service theorizes that tall trees falling on overhead power lines due to the high wind likely caused the fire. This generated sparks, which ignited the dry grass below. The fire spread and ultimately burned 34,000 acres, destroyed 1,700 homes and killed two people.
Lawsuit Against Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative
Attorney William Rossick asserts that while Mother Nature caused the Bastrop Complex fire to spread, Bluebonnet is to blame due to their failure to cull dead trees near power lines. In addition to helping compensate the wildfire victims, Rossick hopes the lawsuits will motivate utility companies in the area to be more proactive at preventing this kind of incident in the future. Bluebonnet officials denounce the claims of neglect, saying it’s a misguided attempt to place blame on someone when it was merely a terrible act of Mother Nature. What’s more, General Manager of Bluebonnet, Mark Rose, states that the trees in question were on private property and not Bluebonnet’s responsibility. Following the allegations against Bluebonnet, the company filed a $35 million lawsuit against Asplundh, the tree maintenance company Bluebonnet hired to trim trees away from power lines. That lawsuit is currently being pursued as Bluebonnet finishes settling the remaining claims against it from insurance companies and wildfire victims. When a company’s neglect is the cause of property damage or death, a negligence lawsuit may be in order.
Contact Dallas-Fort Worth lawyers at Frenkel & Frenkel to schedule a free initial consultation regarding an incident where property was lost or a loved one was killed due to a negligent party.