Photo for The Washington Post by Stuart W. Palley.

The Kincade Fire recently burned nearly 80,000 acres of Northern Sonoma County with smoke traveling far and wide. Our incredible firefighters from across the country teamed up to bring this emergency to 100% containment with only 300 structures destroyed. Compare that to several thousand structures destroyed in the Tubbs and Atlas Fires in 2017 and the devastatingly sad Camp Fire which cost so many lives last year.
Continue Reading

Most homeowners and commercial insurance policies contains exclusions for loss or damages caused by mudflow or other similar occurrences. An example of on such exclusion is included below:

b. Earth Movement and Settlement, meaning earthquake, which includes land shock wavers or tremors before, during or after a volcanic eruption; landslide; mudflow; sinkhole; earth sinking, rising or shifting; clay shrinkage or other expansion or contraction of soils or organic materials; decay of buried or organic materials; setline cracking or expansion of foundation;


Continue Reading

Southern Californians impacted by the mudslides that followed the devastating wildfires in Ventura and Santa Barbara may see some light at the end of the tunnel with the big question of whether insurers will cover their mudslide loss. Over the last few week Californians have lost their homes when the rains brought homes down from the mountainsides ravaged by fire. With the vegetation gone, the hills and mountains simply could not hold during the heavy rains and mud flowed downhill at 20 miles per hour at what witnesses can only call a “wall of mud” that consumed homes and lives within its path. For many, this meant losing all worldly possessions when their houses slid down the hillside and were buried in mud. Even the ability to rebuild in the area is a question for many.
Continue Reading

The buzz amongst policyholders about what insurance owe for additional living expenses due to the Northern California Wildfires is still going strong as Southern California braces this week for Santa Ana winds. With predicted gusts up to 70 mph, Southern Californians are in real danger of the potential for wildfires. Recently, I’ve received quite a few calls from victims of the Northern California wildfires asking what their rights are under their additional living expenses portion of their insurance policies. Most policies limit policyholders to one year of additional living expenses (ALE) or the reasonable time to rebuild. In the recent Northern California wildfires, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency which means that every policyholder with proper additional living expense coverage under their policy has an extension of an additional year for ALE.
Continue Reading

All states have unique insurance laws following disasters. Many important rights and options are not contained in the insurance contract. California wildfire victims and policyholders are discovering first-hand that some insurance adjusters are not being honest or upfront regarding their rights following the 2017 wildfires.
Continue Reading

Merlin Law Group is co-counsel with a very fine San Francisco based law firm, Levin Simes. We filed a wildfire lawsuit on behalf of a vineyard yesterday. It is hard to describe the devastation and magnitude of these fires, but our complaint noted in part:

The North Bay Fires are some of the most destructive fires in California’s history. In just a week, the fires caused the deaths of at least 43 people, displaced about 100,00 people who were forced to leave their homes and search for safety, burned over 200,000 acres and destroyed at least 8,000 homes and buildings. In particular, the Tubbs fire destroyed approximately five percent of Santa Rosa’s housing stock, burned over 36,000 acres across two counties and killed at least 19 individuals.
Continue Reading