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Maui Wildfire Lawsuits | Hawaiian Electric Investigation

The National Weather Service issued a warning for Hawaii days before Hurricane Dora hit the islands. In fact, the National Weather Service (NWS) specifically said, “the strong pressure gradient between it & the high pressure to the north creates a threat of damaging winds & fire weather (due to ongoing dry conditions).”

Despite the warnings, Hawaiian Electric, which “provides electricity for 95% of residents of the State of Hawaii on Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Hawaii Island,” allegedly failed to take preventative measures. Even after a Red Flag Warning, it does not appear that the company took appropriate measures that potentially could have prevented much of the damage caused by the wildfires.

In the aftermath of the Maui Wildfires, Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane Conway & Wise (Peiffer Wolf) came together with Sergio Rufo of Rufo Law Group in Hawaii. Our firms were committed to putting together the best team of attorneys from around the country to represent victims of this tragedy. Sergio is proud to live in Hawai`i, where the law gives jurors — men and women like you (and not judges or politicians) — the power to ensure that safety rules are followed by providing full and fair compensation to victims of corporations and entities that place profits over people. As Sergio always says, “it is the jury’s job to keep the community and the islands safe by returning verdicts that corporations and other entities will take seriously.

Thus, we put together a team of law firms from around the country with unprecedented experience in both handling and leading wildfire litigation. The law firms of Peiffer Wolf, Levin Papantonio Rafferty, Rufo Law Group, and Skikos Crawford Skikos & Joseph bring the experience, strength, and hope required to represent victims of such a devastating tragedy. And we are committed to holding the appropriate parties accountable for the unprecedented devastation, pain, and suffering caused by the fires in Lahaina. Collectively, our law firms have recovered billions of dollars for our clients.

Our attorneys are committed to helping the residents of Maui after this tragedy, so we are reducing our contingency rate to 25%. To contact us for a free case evaluation, you can call us at (808) 633-8138. You also can request an evaluation by clicking Maui Wildfire Lawsuit Evaluation.

Maui Wildfires | Hawaii Wildfires | What Happened

Four days before the fires, the NWS issued a warning which stated that Hawaii could experience “indirect impacts” from Hurricane Dora, including “strong and gusty trade winds” and “dry weather & high fire danger.” They then issued a Red Flag Warning for areas throughout Hawaii, including West Maui. According to the NWS, a “Red Flag Warning means warm temperatures, very low humidities, and stronger winds are expected to combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger.”

Despite knowledge of these warnings, Hawaiian Electric allegedly failed to de-energize the downed lines, which has become common practice in similar scenarios. This alleged inaction led to loss of life, serious injuries, destruction of hundreds of homes and businesses, displacement of thousands of people, and damage to many of Hawaii’s historical and cultural sites.

Red Flag Warning | Wildfire Lawsuits | Maui Wildfires Investigation

Residents reported seeing power lines downed by the wind caused by Hurricane Dora before the fires began. The fires have been fueled by high winds, low humidity, and dry vegetation throughout the region. It was these land and atmospheric conditions that created “fire weather,” during which much of Hawaii was under a Red Flag Warning for fire risk.

“We don’t know what actually ignited the fires, but we were made aware in advance by the National Weather Service that we were in a red flag situation — so that’s dry conditions for a long time, so the fuel, the trees, and everything, was dry,” said Major General Kenneth Hara, commander general of the Hawaii Army National Guard. “That, along with low humidity and high winds, set the conditions for the wildfires.”

The winds fanning the flames were generated by Hurricane Dora, which was moving across the Pacific Ocean hundreds of miles south of Hawaii when the fires started. Dora, a Category 4 storm, caused heavy wind gusts over 60 MPH that tore through Maui, knocking down power lines and damaging homes.

Can I Get a Settlement in a Maui Wildfire Lawsuit?

If you have experienced any of the following as a result of the fires in Maui 2023, you might be eligible to recover compensation in a lawsuit against the Maui power companies:

  • Personal injury
  • Death of a loved one
  • Complete loss of home and/or personal property
  • Damaged home and/or personal property
  • Complete loss of business property
  • Business property damage
  • Insurance coverage shortfalls resulting from coverage limits, uncovered possessions, high deductibles, etc.
  • Mandatory evacuation from your home
  • Loss of business income
  • Delay damages and expenses connected to permitting and rebuilding costs that are unreimbursed or inadequately covered

Our attorneys are committed to helping the residents of Maui after this tragedy, so we are reducing our contingency rate to 25%. To contact us for a free case evaluation, you can call us at (808) 633-8138. You also can request an evaluation by clicking Maui Wildfire Lawsuit Evaluation.

What We Know About Maui Wildfire Lawsuits

Residents of Hawaii have filed lawsuits against Hawaiian Electric Company, arguing that the damage to the island could have been reduced if the utility company had taken preventive action and responded with more urgency to downed power lines.

According to claims, the Maui town of Lahaina was destroyed by flames when Hawaiian Electric and its subsidiary Maui Electric Company failed to shut down power. Hawaiian Electric gave wildfire mitigation the lowest priority in a state regulatory filing in April.

Utility Company Knew of Risk

For years, Hawaiian Electric had prior knowledge of the area’s fire risk. Climate change has made West Maui noticeably drier than other regions of the island, and flammable non-native vegetation has taken over the region. Hurricane winds add to the mix, a concern that had been raised after brush fires on Maui and Oahu in 2018

Hawaiian Electric Had National Weather Service Warnings

The wildfire lawsuits claim that Hawaiian Electric also had prior knowledge of the National Weather Service’s (NWS) high wind and fire warning for Hawaii before the blazes began. NWS issued a Red Flag Warning for West Maui and other parts of the Hawaiian Islands in anticipation of “strong and gusty trade winds” during Hurricane Dora. The hurricane winds reportedly traveled up to 70 miles per hour.

Downed Power Lines Sparked Fires

Lawsuits claim these winds downed power lines, which initiated the fires and caused them to spread and engulf Lahaina.

They Failed to Shut Off Power

Because the utility company did not implement Public Safety Power Shutoffs, which California has used in its wildfire prevention strategy for years, fires grew in their intensity and consumed homes, businesses, and properties, displaced residents from their homes, and caused serious injuries and death.

The New York Times reported former member of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission Jennifer Potter acknowledged “there should have been a requirement for them to cut off power.”

They Said They Were Committed to Fire Mitigation

A 2018 Hawaiian Electric press release stated the utility company would apply itself to wildfire mitigation and that it had “evaluated the wildfire mitigation plans filed by the major utilities in California and studied Hawaii fire ignition maps to determine where the greatest risks are and to provide a basis for planning.”

Hawaiian Electric Investigation | Free Consultation

Peiffer Wolf is investigating Hawaiian Electric and all affiliated companies. Our firm will dig into whether or not these companies should have taken preventative measures in response to the NWS warnings issued days before the fire.

Peiffer Wolf is committed to helping the residents of Maui after this tragedy, so we are reducing our contingency rate to 25%. To contact our team of attorneys for a free case evaluation, you can call us at (808) 633-8138. You also can request an evaluation by clicking Maui Wildfire Lawsuit Evaluation.


Yes. Please call us or use our contact form to request a Free Case Evaluation. We have a national team of attorneys and staff who look forward to speaking with you.

Typically, we represent clients on contingency fee agreements. If we take your case under a contingency fee arrangement, you won’t owe our firm any legal fees unless we are able to recover money for you.

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