Information on wildfire litigation

  • As a result of the historic and tragic wind event of Labor Day 2020, many Oregonians suffered losses to their homes, businesses and communities.
  • PacifiCorp continues to lead in wildfire mitigation, and our system-wide, six state plan continues to grow and evolve – it includes in-house emergency management, meteorology and data science teams and features the installation of over 450 weather stations, grid hardening, fire-risk modeling software and an enhanced vegetation management program.
  • The safety of our employees, customers and communities remains our top priority.

PacifiCorp's Wildfire and Extreme Weather Mitigation Plans

Archie Creek fire

PacifiCorp December 18, 2023, 8-K

PacifiCorp has reached a $250 million settlement agreement with 10 companies with commercial timber interests associated with the Archie Creek Complex Fire. The 2020 wildfires were undeniably tragic, and PacifiCorp is pleased to resolve this matter on behalf of our impacted customers and communities. 

The company has settled and is committed to settling all reasonable claims for actual damages as provided under Oregon law. This is the latest example and follows closely behind a separate settlement agreement reached earlier this month with 463 individual plaintiffs related to the Archie Creek Complex Fire. These are in addition to settlements with other individuals and businesses, and hundreds of insurance claims PacifiCorp settled where homeowners and businesses have received insurance payments for their real and personal property damages and alternative living expenses.  

The growing threat of wildfires to communities and businesses is bigger than any one company or industry. PacifiCorp will continue to collaborate with stakeholders on holistic solutions to address the impact of wildfires while leading in investments in wildfire preparedness and mitigation. The safety of our customers and communities remains our top priority.

PacifiCorp December 5, 2023, 8-K

PacifiCorp has reached a $299 million settlement agreement with 463 plaintiffs impacted by the 2020 Archie Creek fire in Douglas County, Oregon. The 2020 wildfires were undeniably tragic, and PacifiCorp is pleased to resolve this matter on behalf of our affected customers and communities. 

PacifiCorp has settled and is committed to settling all reasonable claims for actual damages as provided under Oregon law and will continue to advance its positions in other proceedings to ensure fair and appropriate outcomes. These settlements are in addition to settlements with other individuals and businesses, and hundreds of insurance claims PacifiCorp settled where homeowners and businesses have received insurance payments for their real and personal property damages and alternative living expenses.  

The growing threat of wildfires to communities and businesses is bigger than any one company or industry. PacifiCorp will continue to collaborate with stakeholders on holistic solutions to address the impact of wildfires while leading in investments in wildfire preparedness and mitigation. The safety of our customers and communities remains our top priority.

James Case fires (Santiam Canyon, South Obenchain, Echo Mountain Complex and 242 fires)

  • On January 24, 2024, a Multnomah County jury awarded $6 million of economic damages and $56 million of non-economic damages for nine James class-action plaintiffs. After the jury verdict, the Multnomah County court doubled the economic damages to $12 million and added $16 million of punitive damages based on a 0.25 multiplier determined by a prior Multnomah County jury. PacifiCorp will ask the Multnomah County judge to offset the damage awards by deducting insurance proceeds received by the class action plaintiffs. Earlier this year, PacifiCorp filed an appeal on numerous issues stemming from the June 2023 James court proceeding and intends to appeal this latest outcome because many of the fundamental problems with this case persist. PacifiCorp will appeal the jury's findings and damage awards, including whether the case can proceed as a class action. The appeals process and further actions could take several years.
  • On January 4, 2024, the court in the James proceeding formally entered the limited judgment, at which time PacifiCorp filed a notice of appeal with the Oregon Court of Appeals.
  • On December 1, 2023, the judge in the James case ruled on several post-trial motions pertaining to the June 2023 verdict. The judge is requiring plaintiffs to revise and resubmit the proposed limited judgment, which means that PacifiCorp’s opportunity for appeal will not begin until the new, revised judgment is adopted and entered by the court (that could take up to 30 days or more). The limited judgment amount is expected to be consistent with the June 2023 verdict. There is no impact to PacifiCorp’s existing accruals related to the judge’s orders.
    • As expected, the judge denied PacifiCorp’s post-trial motions challenging the June 2023 verdict, the award of noneconomic damages, class certification and several other issues. PacifiCorp was required to bring these motions to preserve the same points for appeal.
    • The judge granted PacifiCorp’s motion to offset plaintiffs’ economic damages with insurance proceeds recovered by the plaintiffs. The judge ruled that PacifiCorp is entitled to offset (i.e., reduce the damages of) each plaintiff’s economic damages by the full amount of any payment those plaintiffs received from their insurance carriers.
    • The judge denied plaintiffs’ motion for prejudgment interest. Prejudgment interest in Oregon is 9% per year. 
    • With respect to plaintiffs’ request to enter a limited judgment, the judge denied PacifiCorp’s objections to doubling economic damages (Note: doubling does not apply to noneconomic damages) but granted PacifiCorp’s objections with respect to plaintiffs’ attempt to apply the 0.25 punitive damages multiplier to the double economic damages amount. 
  • On June 12, 2023, a Multnomah County jury found the company liable with respect to 17 named plaintiffs and all class members within the designated fire boundaries for the Santiam Canyon, Echo Mountain Complex, South Obenchain and Two-Four-Two fires. 
  • PacifiCorp prevailed in one key aspect of the case, as the jury did not hold PacifiCorp liable for inverse condemnation.
  • The 17 named plaintiffs were awarded a total of $4 million in economic damages and $68 million in noneconomic damages. On June 14, 2023, the jury also awarded the named plaintiffs punitive damages of 0.25 times economic and non-economic damages, for a total award of approximately $90 million. 
  • No official reports from the Oregon Department of Forestry or the U.S. Forest Service have been released with respect to the cause of each of these fires. There is no set timeline for completion of those investigations.
  • There is a broader class action component that is yet to be litigated, and PacifiCorp continues to challenge the case as a class action. The jury’s determination did not address damages for the broader class members, although the jury did award a punitive multiplier of 0.25 to future damage determinations.
  • Each class member will need to demonstrate their individual damages claim. The number of remaining class members and associated damages will be determined as part of a second phase of the case, and that process is yet to be defined. The number of potential class members is unknown at this time.
  • Several post-verdict motions will be filed by the parties that could change the amount of damages awarded by the jury. No judgment will be entered until the court rules on the post-verdict motions, which could take several months. Following entry of the final judgment by the court, appeals will be filed, briefed and argued and decisions will be issued over the course of the next few years. Enforcement of the judgment is expected to be stayed pending appeals.
  • Three damages trials have been set for January, February, and April 2024 for subsets of class members (e.g., 10 plaintiffs per trial in January and February and 2 commercial timber interests in April). In each proceeding, there will be discovery and a jury trial. The judge has mandated mediation before each trial.
  • These verdicts are just one step in a multi-year legal proceeding. PacifiCorp will vigorously pursue appeals and are confident that we will prevail. 

PacifiCorp June 16, 2023, 8-K

Wildfire Information Filings - Post June 30, 2023

Wineries litigation

Filings