February 2, 2024

Law.com (January 23,2024) -An Oregon jury, in a rare class trial, awarded more than $62 million Tuesday to victims of the wildfires that ravaged the state in 2020.

The trial, held at the Multnomah Circuit Court, is the second in a class action of residents and businesses with property the wildfires damaged. Jurors awarded nearly $6.3 million in economic damages to nine survivors of the wildfires, and $56 million in noneconomic damages, according to coverage from Courtroom View Network.
Last year, a previous jury found Pacific Power and its owner, PacifiCorp, part of Berkshire Hathaway, liable for the wildfires. They also assessed a 0.25 multiplier of punitive damages to class members who had not yet received compensatory damages. There are about 5,000 class members.

With that prior jury’s finding, this month’s plaintiffs are entitled to double the economic damages under Oregon law that, when totaled with the noneconomic damages, will add another $17.1 million in punitive damages, according to Chicago-based plaintiffs firm Edelson. That makes the jury’s total award closer to $85 million.