Hawaii Government Sued by Victim’s Father

(ConservativeJournal.org) – Hawaii has found itself on the receiving end of a lawsuit brought against multiple entities in the state by the father of one tragedy’s victims in yet another arm of the Maui wildfire story. Attorneys for Harold Wells submitted the suit’s paperwork on September 4 and lists the state itself, Maui’s local government, Wells’ utility company, and a number of wealthy landowners as defendants.

The fact that action is being taken against several establishments simultaneously makes the suit a one-of-a-kind challenge for the state’s legal system. In his filing, Wells alleges group negligence on the part of the defendants and insists that all bear a combined responsibility for the deaths that occurred in and around Lahaina.

Allegations and counter allegations have been raging on Maui for weeks and Wells’ suit is only one of several. Though the listed defendants vary from suit to suit, all appear to be collectively arguing that the island’s utility systems lie at the root of the wildfire’s rapid expansion.

In his suit, Wells says that a “combination” of environmental factors, untrimmed brush and aging power lines negligently resulted in a “tinderbox” that was waiting for stimulus. The language asserts that the probability of fire breaking out “was not theoretical.”

Both state and local officials “were aware” of the potential risk to residents and properties on the island, he insists. Wells also alleges that executives with Hawaii Electric were well aware of the problem. The utility provider had already been sued by the county, but insisted after the filing that the suit’s claims were baseless.

Officials had alleged that the company failed to turn off the flow of current to power lines in the face of excessively high winds. Hawaii Electric responded not long after and insisted that they had indeed restricted the flow of electricity to lines many hours before the winds and fires began. Flames were responsible for destroying more than 2,000 structures.

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