$100 Million 2020 Wildfire Damages Claim Against PacifiCorp Filed By Oregon Wineries and Vineyards

Pacificorp’s failure to switch off the power during the devastating 2020 wildfires is proving to be a costly error. The company is now facing lawsuits in the Multnomah County Circuit Court from around 30 wineries and vineyards in the Willamette Valley who have accused PacifiCorp of negligence, requesting over $100 million in damages.


Oregon Vineyards And Wineries Damages Claim Against PacifiCorp

As the deadly 2020 wildfires raged across the state, vineyards and wineries say that the smoke and soot emanating from the flames damaged their grapes, reducing their harvest and sales. They allege that the utility’s decision to not turn off power during the weekend windstorm contributed to their losses. The fires were among the worst natural disasters in Oregon’s history, burning over  1,875 square miles (4,856 square kilometers) and destroying upward of 5,000 homes and other structures. Nine people lost their lives in the fires.

Located in the Willamette Valley, where two-thirds of Oregon’s vineyards and wineries are situated, the wine producers named as plaintiffs allege that the fires “produced harmful smoke particles that landed on and infused themselves into the grapes.”

The smoke-infused grapes and grape juice can carry the smoke’s compounds and smokey taste over the whole wine production and bottling process, ending in the sale to consumers. As a result, vineyards couldn’t sell their grapes to winemakers, and the wineries were unable to sell their wines.

The producers paid what they call “extraordinary costs” in an attempt to cleanse the soot and smoke from 2020 vintages, but their efforts largely failed. The resulting lost revenue and damaged reputations are at the center of the complaint.


PacifiCorp Faces Several 2020 Wildfire Lawsuits

Other parties, including Oregon wineries, have also sued PacifiCorp in separate lawsuits with similar allegations and economic damages claims. Several went to trial in the state over the past year, and juries in multiple verdicts ordered PacifiCorp to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to victims. Further litigation that is still ongoing could leave it on the hook for billions.

See also: Oregon Wildfire Victims Settle For $299 Million In Lawsuit Against PacifiCorp


A jury found PacifiCorp liable for negligently failing to cut power to its 600,000 customers despite warnings from top fire officials in June 2023. They determined PacifiCorp acted willfully and negligently, indicating that the utility has to pay punitive and other damages. The class action decision applied to a group that included owners of up to 2,500 properties.

Other class action lawsuits representing thousands of members are still awaiting trials, but the parties are expected to engage in mediation, and this could lead to out-of-court settlements.

See also: Federal And Oregon Governments Mull 2020 Wildfire Costs Claim Against PacifiCorp


PacifiCorp said in a statement it is committed to settling all reasonable claims for damages as provided under Oregon law. They confirmed that the safety of communities and their customers remains their top priority.

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