Media reports this week revealed that lawyers for the victims of the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion are fighting against PG&E's move to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in punitive damages for the disaster.
PG&E recently filed a motion to have punitive damages thrown out of the case against the utility before the trial starts in the fall.
The San Mateo County Times reported that PG&E filed papers with San Mateo Superior Court Judge Steven Dylina, who is overseeing the court proceedings, arguing that the explosion was an accident that couldn't have been prevented.
The victims' lawyers fired back, saying the utility is half-heartedly trying to claim that it has learned its lesson in order to avoid paying out more money for the explosion.
"Punitive damages are warranted," the lawyers' brief (see attached) stated. "PG&E's past conduct cannot be swept under the rug through the artifice of a half-hearted apology."
Dylina is expected to rule on whether to throw out the punitive damages at a hearing on Sept. 4.
The trial for the lawsuits, which now represent more than 300 residents, is still scheduled to begin on Oct. 9.
PG&E has already reached a number of confidential settlements with residents who were affected by the disaster, including all of the families whose relatives died in the fire.
The Sept. 9, 2010, explosion left eight people dead, 38 homes destroyed and dozens of people injured and emotionally scarred in the Crestmoor neighborhood.