Who is to blame for the Sonoma County wildfires, and the unbelievable destruction that they caused?
At the moment, no one knows.
But here’s what we do know:
The negligent maintenance of power lines is a known cause of previous California wildfires.
PG&E was found responsible for the 2015 Butte Fire, which burned 70,000 acres in Amador and Calaveras Counties in 2015.
PG&E was found responsible for the 2010 San Bruno gas explosion. The utility was ordered to pay $1.6 billion for its negligence.
PG&E is currently under investigation by both the California Public Utilities Commission and Cal Fire.
Formal investigations have already begun, and PG&E is scrambling to deny responsibility.
Cal Fire is specifically investigating whether the inadequate trimming of vegetation near PG&E power lines caused those lines to fall, spark, and ignite the fires.
Fires don’t just happen.
There’s no such thing as spontaneous combustion.
Lightning can cause wildfires, but Sonoma County was in the midst of a long, rainless spell.
The rumors of arson have been soundly renounced by local law enforcement.
Here’s another thing we know:
If you lost a loved one or your home in the Sonoma County wildfires, the attorneys at Adams Fietz can and will help you seek the justice and the financial compensation that you’re due.
Don’t hesitate – get Sonoma County’s best and most experienced attorneys on your side right away.
Founding partners Ben Adams and Jeremy Fietz have been featured in over 100 radio and television interviews including:
What We Do
We see our job as ‘problem solvers’. We have decades of experience presenting compelling cases before adjusters, judges and juries. We use this vast experience to achieve the best outcome for our clients. We love practicing law, and it shows.
35+ Years Of Experience
With over 35 years of combined legal experience, longtime friends and founding attorneys, Jeremy Fietz and Benjaman Adams, set out to build a unique Santa Rosa practice. We focus our practice on serious personal injury, auto accident and wrongful death claims.
Every member of the Adams Fietz team brings unique strengths to the firm and we don’t consider ourselves to be a stereotypical “stuffy” law office. We work hard for our clients while retaining a sense of humor and positive outlook on life.
Call our legal team right now for a Free Consultation.
"Jeremy represented my wife and myself as a result of a traumatic brain injury caused by an auto accident. I was scared at first, but his deep sincerity and kindness soon made me realize that we were in excellent hands". Bud B. June 19, 2013
Reviews & Testimonials
Ben [Adams] is a fantastic lawyer who knows the law and fights for his clients.
I refer all personal injury cases to Jeremy and his team because they simply are the best. A proven track record of success and dedication to his clients. You can’t find a better personal injury and wrongful death lawyer.
*****Douglas Skelton, DUI and DWI AttorneyJune 16, 2015
Jeremy represented my wife and myself as a result of a traumatic brain injury caused by an auto accident. He also represented us subsequently against a pharmacy. Both were near-death experiences.
Jeremy was always professional, kind, and empathetic. I was scared at first, but his deep sincerity and kindness soon made me realize that we were in excellent hands. … I will always think of Jeremy as a friend. He really cares!
*****5-Star Avvo.com Review of Jeremy FietzFrom: Bud B. - June 19, 2013
Jeremy represented me against [an insurance company]. He was a seasoned professional with a big heart. He won my case and my family and I will be forever grateful to him. I highly, highly recommend him!
*****5-star Avvo.com review of Jeremy FietzFrom: Helen - June 19, 2014
Adams Fietz represented me in 2012 when I was involved in a felony hit-and-run car accident where I was the passenger. They succeeded in making me feel comfortable and I trusted them throughout the process. I was kept up to date with all new information that came their way as the case evolved. I always felt that I was a respected team member during the process, and when things were stressful, they were generous with their time in helping me work through things. I am not sure how I would have gotten through that hard time without the help of Adams Fietz. If there is anyone that should be contacted regarding an injury compensation case, it’s Jeremy.
*****5-Star Avvo.com Review of Jeremy FietzFrom: Zachary - March 18, 2014
I was very pleased when I called Jeremy’s office and he took the time to talk to me personally (rather than have some assistant evaluate the case for profitability). Jeremy took on our personal injury case (medical malpractice) on contingency when other firms thought it was “not worth pursuing.” I had a good feeling about Jeremy from our first discussion. He really seemed to care about us, and he lived up to our expectations. He handled the case, delivering an attractive settlement, and treated us fairly with the fees.
I would highly recommend Jeremy Fietz and his firm, Adams Fietz. And while I hope I will never again need the services of any lawyer, he will be the first I call if I do.
*****5-Star Avvo.com Review of Jeremy FietzFrom: Micheal - March 18, 2014
Ben Adams … was able to achieve a full dismissal for my case. Ben is great guy, very easy to work with, and most importantly: this guy KNOWS HIS SH*T. I noticed very quickly that Ben has also earned a great amount of respect from his peers. Compared to most cases he works, mine was fairly small-time, but I wouldn't have wanted any other attorney on my side.
*****5-Star Yelp Review of Ben AdamsFrom: Scott E - April 19, 2015
Mr. Adams is a remarkable attorney with respected skill and talent. If you’ve been charged with a crime, you can’t go wrong getting Ben on your side.
Jeremy [Fietz] is a standout among his peers. There are few attorneys in the field of personal injury or wrongful death as accomplished and recognized as Jeremy has become. I’ve personally seen Jeremy rake in settlements for his clients FAR in excess of what insurance companies would ever publicly acknowledge as a possibility. Why? Because they’re familiar with Jeremy’s track record, and they know what he’s capable of in the court room. I’ve heard opposing counsel call his cross-examination of a hostile witness “the best I’ve ever seen.” With Jeremy, it’s not all talk. He’s an amazing lawyer with a huge heart for his clients and for doing the right thing. I heartily endorse this attorney.
*****Criminal Defense AttorneyFrom: Izaak Schwaiger. - August 2, 2013
[My wife and I] were referred to Ben Adams through another attorney. From our first meeting we knew that he was the right person to represent us. Why? As we found out, criminal cases take on a life of their own. Even when the victim (me) does not want to pursue a prosecution, or there is little or no evidence to support the charges, the District Attorney has the ability to proceed with the charges, anyway.
Benjaman understands the system and has an excellent reputation for defending clients. Luckily for us, he spoke with the DA and was able to have all charges dropped.
Any person charged with a crime needs to have a lawyer who understands the complexities of the law, is respected in the local courts, and will do what is necessary to defend clients. Benjaman Adams is that attorney.
*****5-star Avvo.com review of Ben AdamsFrom: Anonymous. - August 23, 2014
I endorse [Ben Adams’s] work. He is tenacious and aggressive in defending his clients.
*****Criminal Defense AttorneyFrom: Thomas Quinn. - September 22, 2014
Record Largest Wrongful Death Verdict in Sonoma County History – $10.6 Million!
We work hard at Adams Fietz to obtain fair and meaningful settlements for our clients.
Since 2009, we’ve secured for our clients:
in cases involving pharmaceutical products
in wrongful death cases –
including a single settlement for $10,646,446, the largest in Sonoma County history
in class action cases
in cases involving car and motorcycle accidents
in cases involving defective products
in cases of nursing home abuse
in cases involving other kinds of accidents and injuries
At Adams Fietz, we’re proud to deliver justice to our clients. We work tirelessly to fight for you, your family, your health, and for the fair compensation you deserve.
Our headquarters is in Santa Rosa, in beautiful Sonoma County, California, and we’re licensed to practice law in California; Washington, D.C.; Alaska; and British Columbia, Canada.
On a weekday afternoon on Highway 116 in Cotati, California, Maria Juana Flores turned on to Madrone Road so she could pick up her kids from school. Out of nowhere, her Honda was rammed from behind by a car driven by Gilbert Freeth of Huntington Beach, CA. The impact sent Flores’ car into the path of an oncoming semi truck. She was killed instantly in the horrific crash.
In an instant, two children lost their mother, and Jaime Flores lost his wife.
A jury found Gilbert Freeth 75 percent liable for Maria Flores’ death. The same jury found that Caltrans – the California Department of Transportation – was 25 percent responsible for her death.
Why was Caltrans partly liable for Maria Flores’s death? Because, as the jury found, Caltrans engineers knew very well that the intersection of Highway 116 and Madrone Avenue was unsafe. As far back as 1998, Caltrans had planned to construct a dedicated left-turn lane. But they never built it.
Maria Flores paid for Caltrans’s incompetence and poor judgment with her life.
The $2 million that Caltrans was obligated to pay to the Floreses represents 25 percent of the $10.6 million total verdict, as determined by the jury. To this day, that $10.6 verdict remains the largest in Sonoma County history for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Eleanor Buckingham died as a result of complications from that cellulitis that the staff at Emeritus downplayed and ignored. She was transferred to an assisted living facility, a move that represented a decline in the level of care she received. It’s no coincidence that Eleanor’s move occurred exactly when Medicare stopped paying for the more expensive care she could have received at Emeritus.
Nine weeks later, when she was finally rushed to the hospital, it was too late. Eleanor died of severe end-stage sepsis – a fully avoidable and preventable condition.
In securing a $1 million verdict for her family, Jeremy Fietz, a partner at Adams Fietz, demonstrated that the death of Eleanor Buckingham was a particularly egregious case of negligence, wrongful death, and elder abuse.
When Leilani Palmieri, the former director of the Salvation Army’s residential drug treatment program just north of Healdsburg, California, interviewed Stephen Watson, she saw the young man as “a future leader.” Though Watson – who was just 22 at the time – had completed his own six-month methamphetamine recovery program just weeks earlier, Palmieri believed she had found the right man for the job.
She was terribly, terribly wrong.
Watson turned the charitable organization into a criminal organization. He procured alcohol and prostitutes for residents, and even forced some residents – the ones he didn’t like – to leave. Watson was given great authority, and immediately proved that he was unable to handle it.
Just a few months after he was hired, Stephen Watson and six other recovering addicts drove off with a Salvation Army van, got drunk in various bars in Santa Rosa, California, and proceeded to violently beat Sean Levens, Scott Nunley, and another man who happened to be passing by.
In addition to having a history as a drug user, Watson had ties to a white supremacist gang, and he bragged about his abilities as a master manipulator.
He was, to put it bluntly, anything but a “young leader.”
Sean Levens and Scott Nunley were severely beaten in the incident, with Levens sustaining a permanent brain injury. They turned to Adams Fietz to make sure justice would be done.
It was clear to Adams Fietz partner Jeremy Fietz – just as it would have been to anyone – that Watson was to blame for the attack. But Fietz knew that there was another culpable party: The Salvation Army.
In court, Fietz called it like he saw it, likening to the Salvation Army’s decision to place Watson in a managerial role to “putting a wolf in charge of a zoo.”
The Sonoma County jury agreed with Fietz’s reasoning, finding that the Salvation Army was 80 percent to blame for the savage attack. The awards that the jury granted to Levens and Nunley amounted to more than $1 million.
Nothing can restore full health to Sean Levens and Scott Nunley, and they’ll always have their horrible memories of the vicious attack they suffered. But justice could still be served – and, thanks to the diligent efforts of the attorneys at Adams Fietz, justice was served.
On the evening of January 6, 2009, Christina Burlison used a crosswalk to cross the street at the intersection of Broadway and Sansome in San Francisco’s Financial District. All of a sudden, a taxi appeared from out of nowhere and struck her down.
Though she was treated and released from San Francisco General Hospital that same night, Burlison’s injuries were serious – and not all of them were immediately apparent to the doctors who treated her. Burlison suffered from injuries to her tailbone, a tear in the muscle of her right hip, buttock injuries, nerve damage that extended from her back to her legs, and pain and soreness all over her body. All of those injuries required extensive treatment.
The severe pain in her hip was the worst of all. That required significant surgery. While Burlison was laid up in the hospital, she lost $20,000 in wages and incurred about $80,000 in hospital bills.
The driver of the cab, Peter Coryell, maintained that Burlison’s injuries were not caused by the accident. Coryell’s employer, Desoto Cab, took his side.
Adams Fietz attorney Jeremy Fietz handled Christina Burlison’s case, which went to trial almost four years after the accident.
We’re proud to say that the jury took only two days to decide to award Christina Burlison $800,000 in damages.
One of our core principles at Adams Fietz is to serve the public good. Other lawyers are in it for the money. Not us. We want to see justice done, and we want to see people’s lives improved.
Nothing can bring back Edgar Percy-Lopez, who was killed when a car struck him in a crosswalk at a dangerous intersection in Santa Rosa, California. Edgar was only 20 years old when he was struck and killed by a pickup truck driven by Richard John Gonsalves in 2009.
When Edgar’s family turned to Jeremy Fietz of Adams Fietz for assistance, they were hoping for fair compensation – but, more than that, they were hoping to call attention to the dangers of certain of Santa Rosa’s busiest intersections.
The Perez-Lopez family was awarded a settlement of $335,000 in Edgar’s wrongful death case.
If anything good came from this tragic accident, it is the fact that the trial drew public attention to safety problems in Sonoma County’s largest city. Fietz brought up during the trial that not only did the City of Santa Rosa not have a program in place to detect power outages in municipal equipment, but that the city actually had a “streetlight reduction program” in effect in order to save money.
In the case of the intersection where Edgar Perez-Lopez was killed, residents in the vicinity had reported a broken streetlight for more than a year.
Edgar’s tragic death could have been avoided. But if his case raised awareness – even just slightly – about certain everyday hazards that could affect any one of us, then, in a way, justice was served.
In an age when complex issues frequently get reduced to “viral videos,” it’s hard to know which images to trust.
In the case of a 2014 video taken by Adams Fietz client James Wood, of Cotati, California, we think that the images speak for themselves. One look and we think you’ll agree that the police officers in the video committed a great injustice.
WARNING: This video contains footage of a violent assault, and may be upsetting to some viewers.
James Wood’s video made news all across the country. It’s been viewed on YouTube more than half a million times.
It’s worth emphasizing that Wood spoke plainly to the police when they questioned him, asserted clearly his basic rights, and informed the officers that children were present in his home.
To our eyes, that video shows a clear-cut case of an unwarranted home invasion by the police. In our opinion, the officers’ decision to force open the door to Wood’s home, as well as the one officer’s decision to fire his Taser, was inexcusable – and illegal.
Yet it was James Wood who found himself accused of a crime. Almost unbelievably, despite the evidence in the footage he shot, James Wood was accused of obstructing the police, a misdemeanor offense.
Benjaman Adams of Adams Fietz stepped in to defend him. We’re proud to say that Wood was cleared of all charges.
Call our legal team right now for a Free Consultation.