NewsMarshall Fire


Judge consolidates all Marshall Fire lawsuits against Xcel Energy into one case

marshall fire_boulder county.jpg
Posted at 5:07 PM, Sep 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-08 09:50:59-04

SUPERIOR, Colo. — A judge on Tuesday agreed to consolidate several lawsuits against Xcel Energy that represent hundreds of Marshall Fire survivors and insurance companies.

"It burned all of our houses down. It burned our workplace down. It burned down all of our fancy cars. It took our equipment, snow trucks and loaders. It took everything," said George Kupfner of the fire that ripped through his property on Dec. 30, 2021.

His company, Superior Maintenance, took a big hit.

"I've been here for so long that I had all the tools I needed to do anything I wanted. After the fire, I didn't have enough tools to patch a tire," Kupfner said.

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Kupfner was one of the first plaintiffs in the first lawsuit against Xcel Energy.

"We filed the first case in March of 2022 against Xcel Energy to prove that they were a significant contributing cause of the fire," said attorney James Avery, who now represents around 100 survivors.

Since then, other suits have been filed, including a mass action lawsuit with the Marshall Fire Attorneys representing around 300 plaintiffs. All of those cases will now be processed as one.

"Xcel Energy obviously doesn't want to have to defend itself and 10 different cases. So they actually took the impetus to consolidate the other cases into our case," said Avery. "It means it's all going to proceed as one case."

Attorneys with the Marshall Fire Attorneys group told Denver7 they will now pool resources with the other attorneys who are representing all the other clients. It will likely streamline the case for those clients, too.

"We've been through a lot of pre-trial proceedings. They're not going to have to be repeated, they're not going to have to do that. So [other clients] get the benefit of all that work that we've done," said Avery.

For Kupfner, who grew up in Superior, he's glad to hear the long litigation process might be a little shorter for some of his neighbors.

"It ain't who lost first or who got on board first. They still lost, and they need to be made whole as well," Kupfner said.


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The next hearing for the consolidated case is scheduled for September 21, where all involved attorneys will discuss how to share gathered information and investigation materials.

Avery said the entire process, whether it ends in a trial or a settlement, can take between two to five years.

The statute of limitations in Colorado for someone to file suit in relation to the Marshall Fire is December 30.

"Some people might be under the impression they don't have to do anything, they can just sit back and wait for a check. But I would advise against that. I think people should hire their own attorneys and and get on board with the lawsuit to make sure their rights are protected," said Avery.

Xcel energy has denied any responsibility for the Marshall Fire. The company released a statement after the Boulder County Sheriff's Office investigation found hot particles from a disconnected Xcel power line caused one ignition point in the massive blaze:

"Our thoughts are with the families and communities impacted by the devastating wildfire in Boulder County. We agree with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office report that the Marshall Fire started as a result of an ignition on a property (5325 Eldorado Springs Drive) previously reported to be affiliated with an entity called the Twelve Tribes, and that this ignition had nothing to do with Xcel Energy’s powerlines. The Sheriff’s report cites several potential causes for a second ignition near the Marshall Mesa Trailhead that started roughly an hour after the first fire. We believe the second fire burned into an area already burned by the fire from the first ignition, and did not cause damage to any homes or businesses. We strongly disagree with any suggestion that Xcel Energy’s powerlines caused the second ignition, which according to the report started 80 to 110 feet away from Xcel Energy’s powerlines in an area with underground coal fire activity. Xcel Energy did not have the opportunity to review and comment on the analyses relied on by the Sheriff’s Office and believes those analyses are flawed and their conclusions are incorrect.  We have reviewed our maintenance records and believe the system was properly maintained. We operate and maintain our electric system consistent with leading energy service practices and we’re proud of our employees and the work they do to deliver safe, reliable and clean energy to our communities. As members of the Boulder community, we will continue to support our neighbors in this recovery."

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