Law firm recruits clients to sue power company and children’s camp for causing fire

Wilderness Ridge Fire
Wilderness Ridge fire. Photo: Jarred Lemmon

A law firm in Texas has created a web site to recruit plaintiffs who are interested in joining a lawsuit related to the Wilderness Ridge fire which burned 26 homes, 20 businesses, and 1,491 acres in Bastrop County, Texas in February, 2009. In a Case Study of the fire, the Texas Forest Service described it as “the most destructive wildfire in Central Texas”.

So far the lawyers have 20 plaintiffs that have signed on with them.

The fire was caused by a downed power line. The attorneys say a tree fell into the line, snapping it and starting the fire. In addition to suing the Bluebonnet Electrical Cooperative which was responsible for maintaining the line, they are suing Camp Wilderness Ridge, a children’s camp, which, according to the law firm:

…had allowed Bluebonnet to run power lines on its property. Like Bluebonnet, Camp Wilderness Ridge also failed to keep trees and vegetation from growing too close to the power lines.

The children’s camp claims that it is the sole responsibility of the utility company to maintain the power line and keep the easement clear.

The plaintiffs are seeking $8 million in property damages, and punitive damages against Bluebonnet in the amount of $16 million.

Personally, I have no problem with suing a power company if it can be proven that their negligence in failure to maintain a power line caused a fire. But suing a children’s camp too, because the power line went through their property? Really? How low can lawyers go?

A survey by ranked the top 10 least trusted professions. Lawyer was number four, listed after used car salesman, politician, and mechanic, which were listed 1, 2, and 3, respectively.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.