The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) has settled its state-court lawsuit against Tarek Al-Shawaff and his local employees, James and Donna Nowlin. The settlement was entered into and the lawsuit then dismissed as to those parties on Sept. 4, 2018.
Although the Town Crier requested information from Ross Hirsch, deputy attorney general in the California Attorney General’s Office, which represented Cal Fire in the lawsuit, no information was received from that office by press time.
However, attorney Shawn Caine, who with his partner represented five individuals — Lon and Susan Paul, Martin Prevosto, Alisia Fisher and Doug McKeller — who also sustained damages as a result of the fire, told the Town Crier that Cal Fire settled its claim for a total of “$1.7 or 1.8 million.” Caine said his five individual clients settled for an aggregate of $3 million. Caine further indicated that the defendant had only “limited insurance coverage.”
The Town Crier will follow up with further more-definitive information as to the Cal Fire settlement when it hears back from the California Attorney General’s Office, which actually represents Cal Fire.
Three complaints brought by insurance companies and insurance-related plaintiffs also were settled.
The state-court lawsuits brought by Lawrence Goda and Diana Amore, who are representing themselves in pro per, are still active and currently set for jury trial on Dec. 21, 2018.
The federal-court lawsuit brought by the United States of America (for the U.S. Forest Service) against these same defendants for similar damages regarding federal lands remains pending in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.