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Lawyers: PG&E Trying to Avoid Punitive Costs in San Bruno Fire Trial

PG&E is asking a judge to throw out punitive damages for the case so that it can continue to settle lawsuits with residents. Lawyers for the residents say that motion should be denied.

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.

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nolan August 03, 2012 at 02:15 PM
WHEN will criminal charges be filed aginst PG&E management?
Martin Ricard (Editor) August 03, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Haven't heard anything about criminal charges yet, but I'll keep everyone updated if I hear about that.
Angelique August 03, 2012 at 05:40 PM
I hope Judge Dylina sides with the residents! PG & E doesn't deserve a break and if they didn't try to go the cheap route and actually kept up on keeping their lines up to date and safe this disaster could have and would have been avoided!
tina juarez August 03, 2012 at 07:12 PM
smart meters blew up and gutted my garage.. what to do now?
nolan August 07, 2012 at 03:01 PM
When PG&E instlled the smartmeters at my house my monthly electric bill almost trippled and remains very high
cjtrailer September 04, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Today is the day that the judge was to rule on whether to throw out punitive damages in the P.G.&E. pipeline explosion of 2010 or not. I hope to hear something today; I trust the Patch will report as soon as you hear anything.
Martin Ricard (Editor) September 04, 2012 at 10:29 PM
There has actually been a change with that hearing. I'll have more on that tomorrow.

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