Suit against Hawaiian Electric shows ‘pattern of neglect’

  • Maui County is suing Hawaiian Electric Company over the deadly fires
  • Attorney: The suit 'goes to a pattern of neglected infrastructure'
  • The Associated Press says bare electrical wires may be to blame for fires

(NewsNation) — Maui County is suing Hawaiian Electric Company over the fires that devastated communities in Lahaina, saying it failed to shut off power despite high winds and dry conditions.

This comes as videos and images analyzed by the Associated Press suggest the fire was caused by bare electric wires and leaning poles.

“The cause of the wildfires is going to be ongoing. The initial place that we’ve started is with the Hawaiian Electric Company,” said attorney Mike Morgan.

Morgan represents the plaintiffs against Hawaiian Electric Company. He joined “NewsNation Live” to discuss the possible additional lawsuits the utility company could face, pointing to a pattern of neglect.

“It goes to, not just what you’ve just spoken about with the bare wires, and the failed infrastructure, but it goes to a pattern of neglected infrastructure, it goes to a pattern of failure,” Morgan said.

When asked about Lahaina residents possibly assembling a class action suit against Hawaiian Electric, Morgan said there are certain aspects where that would be appropriate, but the company is more likely to see a number of individual claims.

“I think this is a case where everyone will bring their individual claim, and it would be more what’s called a mass tort, where everybody has similar liability issues, but they’re affected in a different way,” Morgan explained.

Hawaiian Electric said in a statement that it has “long recognized the unique threats” from climate change and has spent millions of dollars in response but did not say whether specific power lines that collapsed in the early moments of the fire were bare.

“Our cause and origin experts are here,” Morgan said. “We have identified where they think it is, and I think it’s consistent with what’s been reported prior.”

Hawaii Wildfires

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