The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) has settled its lawsuit against Dr. Tarek M. Al-Shawaf and his two employees, James and Donna Nowlin, for $1,566,666, according to a copy of the formal settlement agreement received from the California Attorney General’s Office in response to the Town Crier’s formal California Public Records Act request to the California Department of Justice.
Cal Fire’s formal complaint, filed in 2015, did not specify an amount sought, but estimates at that time were that Cal Fire’s damages for fire suppression costs and damage to state property were in the $8.5-million range.
The Paul lawsuit against the same defendants, brought by plaintiffs Lon and Susan Paul, Martin Prevosto, Alisia Fisher and Doug McKeller, settled for the combined amount of $3,133,334. This state-court settlement therefore amounted to $4.7 million, with respect to the settling plaintiffs. Attorney Shawn Caine, who with his partner Christopher Sieglock, represented the Paul plaintiffs, explained to the Town Crier that the defendants had “limited insurance coverage.”
However, there still remain two state-court plaintiffs, Lawrence Goda and Diana Amore, who are representing themselves in pro per, and whose lawsuits currently are set for jury trial on Dec. 21, 2018.
Also, the United States is still suing the same defendants in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles for an unspecified amount for fire suppression costs and damages to federal lands sustained by the U.S. Forest Service as a result of the Mountain Fire.
The early July 2013 Mountain Fire, which began on Al-Shawaf’s Mountain Center property, caused evacuations in Idyllwild and other areas, burned 27,531 acres, destroyed 23 structures and cost an estimated $25.8 million.