Shareholders Sue Hawaiian Electric Over Maui Wildfires

August 25, 2023

Shareholders of Hawaiian Electric HE.N on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the utility provider in a San Francisco federal court, alleging the company’s failure to disclose important information about its wildfire prevention and safety protocols.

Hawaiian’s protocols and procedures were inadequate, placing Maui at a heightened risk of devastating wildfires, the lawsuit alleged.

Shareholders have suffered “significant losses and damages” due to the company’s “wrongful acts and omissions, and the precipitous decline in the market value of its securities,” according to the court filing.

The stock of Hawaii’s largest utility remains more than 40% down for the week and has lost more than half of its value since the Aug. 8 wildfires that destroyed the coastal Maui town of Lahaina and killed at least 115 people.

The cause of the fires has not yet been determined, but the Honolulu-based company has been blamed for them in class-action lawsuits. These claim the utility failed to shut off power lines despite warnings that high winds might blow those lines down and spark wildfires.

(Reporting by Arshreet Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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