More than 30 lawsuits have been filed in San Mateo County. Judge Steven Dylina was assigned to preside over the cases. Pursuant to his order, all the lawyers working on the cases met on December 2 to discuss amongst themselves how the cases should be handled. After that meeting, Judge Dylina set a first court date of December 21.
A few lawsuits have also been filed in San Francisco County. PG&E asked that those cases be combined with the ones in San Mateo so that all the cases could be heard by the same judge. Judge Forcum of San Mateo County has been appointed to decide whether the San Francisco cases should be grouped with the San Mateo County cases and, if so, which judge should hear them.
Because Judge Forcum has not yet made his decision (that won’t come until January, at the earliest), on Thursday Judge Dylina cancelled the hearing set for December 21. Judge Dylina will set a new hearing date after Judge Forcum makes his ruling.
On Tuesday, the National Transportation Board said that the pipe that failed was welded together instead of being of seamless construction. This is important because PG&E’s documents said that the pipe was a seamless pipe, which is stronger than one that is welded. Furthermore, it looks as though at least one weld was missing. A missing weld, of course, would make the pipe even weaker.
PG&E has yet to offer an explanation for why the pipe was welded when its documentation said that it was a stronger, seamless pipe.