Stoll Berne Obtains Significant Rulings in Favor of Victims of Oregon Labor Day 2020 Fires

On May 10, 2021, the Multnomah County Circuit Court made several significant legal rulings in the class action lawsuit filed against PacifiCorp and Pacific Power for the catastrophic damage caused by the power companies’ negligence and electrical equipment during the devastating fires that ignited in Oregon during Labor Day weekend of 2020.

The power companies sought to have the lawsuit severed, or divided, into four separate lawsuits and to transfer each of the four lawsuits to four different counties. The Court denied this motion. As a result, the lawsuit will proceed in Multnomah County, where PacifiCorp and Pacific Power have their headquarters.

The power companies also sought to have several of the claims dismissed. The Court ruled that each of the challenged claims will proceed, although plaintiffs will be limited to one of the two legal theories asserted to support their claim for inverse condemnation.

The power companies asked the Court to rule that the case could not proceed as a class action. The Court also denied this motion. Whether or not this case will be treated as a class action will be determined in a later proceeding known as “class certification.” 

Finally, the power companies asked the Court to order that they need not produce documents related to their liability until after the formal class certification process is completed. The Court denied this motion as well.

Stoll Berne attorneys Keith Ketterling, Tim DeJong, and Cody Berne represent the proposed class of victims, together with Keller Rohrback L.L.P. and Nick Kahl, LLC