Montecito Water District Announces $8 Million Settlement with Southern California Edison for 2017 Thomas Wildfire and 2018 Montecito Debris Flow Claims
Today, the Montecito Water District announces a settlement with Southern California Edison (SCE) of approximately $8 million to resolve claims resulting from the 2017 Thomas Fire and the 2018 Montecito Debris Flow.
The settlement is part of a larger $360 million settlement for a group of 23 public entities that brought suits against SCE, but does not affect the claims against SCE by residents, individuals, or businesses affected by the fires and debris flow. The settlement also does not affect the claims brought against the Water District as a result of the debris flow – claims the District continues to defend.
JAMS Mediator Judge Jay Gandhi (Ret.) presided over several days of in-person mediation sessions held in Los Angeles, California. Participants in the mediation process included 23 public entities with various claims from the 2017 Thomas Fire, the 2018 Montecito Debris Flows, and the 2018 Woolsey Fire. After multiple days of mediation, Judge Gandhi brokered settlements for a combined total of $360 million, covering the fires and debris flow. Edison and all 23 public entities accepted the settlements.
“The Water District suffered significant infrastructure damages including the loss of water supply and storage capacity at Jameson Lake as a result of the 2017 Thomas Fire and the 2018 Montecito Debris Flow,” said Montecito Water District Board President Floyd Wicks. “Accepting this negotiated settlement will eliminate the prospect of protracted and uncertain litigation, and will help complete repairs of critical infrastructure damaged during the fire and debris flow. This is an important step by SCE to help our community continue its recovery from these devastating tragedies.”
Montecito Water District is represented by General Counsel Cohen & Burge, LLP and by outside counsel, Baron & Budd including attorneys Scott Summy, John Fiske, Torri Sherlin, and Stephen Johnston, who represent 45 public entities in wildfire settlements statewide.
Montecito Water District's mission is to provide an adequate and reliable supply of high quality water to the residents of Montecito and Summerland, at the most reasonable cost. In carrying out this mission, the District places particular emphasis on providing outstanding customer service, conducting its operations in an environmentally sensitive manner, and working cooperatively with other agencies. For additional information visit www.montecitowater.com, like Montecito Water District on Facebook, and follow on twitter @MontecitoWater.