Singleton Schreiber Files Class Action Against Hawaiian Utilities Over Toxic Exposure to Chemicals

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MAUI, Hawaii, Aug. 23, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Fire litigation firm Singleton Schreiber filed a class action lawsuit against several Hawaiian utility companies, alleging the wildfire the utilities are responsible for unleashed a torrent of toxic chemicals in the air and water that will require medical monitoring of residents for decades.

The suit also warns the potential for significant harm, including various cancers and death, is dramatically increased in the Maui population due to this exposure. While smoke filled the air, toxins seeped into the soil and contaminated water supply so badly people were warned not to drink the water at all, even after boiling.

“We know globally, the primary cause of premature deaths of more than 330,000 people a year is wildfire smoke,” said Managing Partner Gerald Singleton. “While the fire poses an immediate threat, the smoke carries poisons in the air for days and weeks after a fire is put out. Coupled with the significantly tainted water supply, the people of Maui will be living with this man-made disaster for the rest of their lives.”

According to the complaint, Hawaiian Electric Industries, Hawaiian Electric Company, Hawai’i Electric Light Company, and Maui Electric Company failed to properly design, construct, operate and maintain its electrical infrastructure, leading to the Lahaina Fire. While this fire caused horrific damage, injuries and loss of life, the smoke brought with it a different yet equally dangerous problem. Smoke, debris and toxins filled the air of Maui with toxins and pollutants.

The fires burned buildings, gas stations, vehicles, boats, pipes, rubbers, dyes, and more, all of which released ash and dust containing known cancer-causing chemicals into the air. These chemicals are known to increase the likelihood of cancers, cognitive impairments and birth defects. These chemicals include asbestos, lead, benzene, arsenic, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxides among others.

“So far, the Lahaina Fire is responsible for at least 115 deaths, with 850 more still missing,” said the firm’s lead Hawaii attorney, Col Paul Starita, USMCR Ret. “But the instances of wrongful death we are likely to see over the next decade or so will dwarf the final death count of the fire. This environmental disaster will impact people of all ages and walks of life. The air and water were poisoned because these utility companies could not do the basic job of managing their equipment.”

The lawsuit is Gilberto Sanchez et al. v. Hawaiian Electric Industries, Hawaiian Electric Company, Hawai’i Electric Light Company, Maui Electric Company, Second Circuit Court of Hawai’i, Case No. 2CCV-23-0000234. To read the complaint, click here.

Maui Wildfire Attorneys

With over 200 employees, Singleton Schreiber has represented more than 12,000 victims of utility fires and has recovered over $2 billion in settlements and verdicts for its clients. The firm brought the first wildfire lawsuit in Maui on behalf of an individual against these same utility companies.

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SOURCE Singleton Schreiber

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