100,000 Acre Wildfire Mass Tort and Class Action Case
Livestock in Midst of Oklahoma and Kansas Wildfire
After a long and difficult struggle, Larry Lahman and E. W. “Bill” Shaw of Mitchell DeClerck implemented the distribution of over $1 Million we recovered for the many dozens of landowners who were damaged by the negligence of a crew replacing power lines in northwestern Oklahoma.
In 1996 the crew, while working in the middle of a dry grass pasture during record drought conditions and 40 mile per hour winds, caused a massive fire.
After being accused of not taking proper safety precautions because they parked their truck facing uphill blocked from the back by the old power pole they were replacing, they asserted they did: "We left the engine running so we could drive out of the fire and put it out."
Unfortunately the crew had blocked their escape route by placing the new replacement power pole in front of their truck. When their truck exhaust set fire to the dry grass, they couldn't move and a 100,000 acre wildfire ensued.
That wildfire raged over several days, burning tens of thousands of acres in three counties in Oklahoma and Kansas. The wildfire is pictured at the left which ultimately swept over nearly 100,000 acres of range and farm land.
Fortunately no lives were lost nor was there serious personal injury. Amazingly none of the cattle shown in the photo were injured. Mitchell DeClerck represented the “class” in a class action filed in 1996. Larry Lahman and Mitchell DeClerck have recovered over $100 Million for classes they have represented in recent years.