San Bruno Explosion: Two Years Later

Hundreds of PG&E’s victims still haven’t been compensated for what they’ve been through.  PG&E admits it caused the explosion, but it still hasn’t settled their claims. 

Once the lawsuits started, some thought PG&E would want to “settle quick.”  Those folks were wrong. The fact of the matter is that PG&E has paid settlements on very few cases – perhaps one out of ten. 

What about the hundreds of cases that PG&E won’t settle? The victims are supposed to be able to take PG&E to trial and have a jury decide. That’s why, after all, we have courthouses. But for the people of San Bruno, getting to trial has been a struggle.

There was going to be a trial this past July.  The trial was going to include only a very small number of the families who were affected by the explosion.  The hope was that after the jury rendered its verdicts for a few of the families, PG&E would see the writing on the wall and settle the remaining cases.  Additional trials might not be necessary.   

Unfortunately, that first  trial was postponed.  Then it was postponed again. And again.  Now it won’t start until January, 2013.    

Some frequently asked questions:

Who are the families who will be included in the first trial set for January?

As of now, the families are:

  • Locon
  • Ruigomez
  • Tafralis
  • Vasquez
  • Barr
  • Healy
  • O’Neill
  • Kim
  • Magoolaghan
  • Chea

How did those particular families get picked?

Months ago, the judge allowed PG&E to pick some families, and then allowed the plaintiffs’ attorneys to pick some.  Then, just before one of the previous trial dates, PG&E decided it didn’t like some of the cases it had picked.  The judge dropped those families from the list and stuck others in their place.  That’s one of the reasons why the current list looks different from the one here.

Can PG&E still decide to pay settlements?

Sure.  PG&E can decide to pay anytime.  But people with experience dealing with PG&E aren’t holding their breath. Instead, they are counting on trial. It’s just a question of when that trial will happen. 

Many victims still struggle with post traumatic stress.  Some have lost their jobs. Why is PG&E spending $10 million on public relations when they still haven’t compensated these folks? 

Watch what PG&E spokesman Joe Molica says and decide for yourself.

 

 

 

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