blog home Product Liability Tool Company Settles Lawsuit with Dozens of Jesusita Fire Victims

By Renee Nordstrand on August 16, 2013

According to the U.S Fire Administration, more and more people are settling in areas that are susceptible to wildfires. Therefore, it is essential that they practice wildfire safety. If you live in one of these areas, remember to follow these safety guidelines:

  • Being informed about local fire laws.
  • Creating a 30- to 100-foot safety zone around a home.
  • Reporting hazardous conditions that can cause a wildfire.
  • Selecting exterior home materials and plants that are fire resistant.
  • Ensuring that fire vehicles can get to a residence.
  • Planning escape routes by car and by foot should a wildfire become a threat.

Please check out the U.S. Fire Administration website for further tips on protecting your family and your home before and during wildfires.

A product liability lawsuit brought against the STIHL power tool company concerning its alleged role in the devastating Jesusita Fire in 2009, has been settled for an undisclosed amount.

More than 70 people affected by the Santa Barbara County wildfire were listed in the lawsuit that was filed against the power tool company. The attorney who filed the suit accused STIHL of negligence and failure to warn. He claimed that the instruction manual for the brush cutter that sparked the fire did not warn that there was a potential danger of fire ignition due to spark production when the brush knife was being used in high-risk fire danger areas.

Two construction workers had been using the tools to clear brush in the area and were accused of starting the fire. The blaze burned 8,733 acres, destroyed 80 homes, and damaged 15 residences. The workers pleaded no contest to charges of clearing a trail without proper firefighting equipment and were sentenced to 250 hours of community service and three years’ probation in connection with the fire.

The lawsuit contended that while the manual for the tool did include 89 warnings, there were no warnings in the manual or on the cutters themselves about the risk of fire “as a result of a rugged terrain/metal blade interaction.”

If you believe you have suffered an injury or property loss due to a product manufacturer, distributor, or retailer’s negligence, please don’t hesitate to contact the Law Office of Reneé J. Nordstrand. We can evaluate your claims to see if you have a case. Call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 962-2022 or our Encino office at (818) 981-3530 for a free, no-obligation consultation today.

Posted in: Product Liability