PG&E had the perfect opportunity to stand up in court and take responsibility for what it has done to the people of San Bruno. Instead, when it filed its written answer to the victims’ lawsuits, it denied everything, and blamed everyone else, including its victims. PG&E stated that it should not be required to compensate plaintiffs because of the legal doctrines of “comparative negligence” and “contributory negligence.” In other words, according to PG&E, the victims were responsible for their own injuries.
I wrote about PG&E’s legal position here. Then, a few days ago, Jaxon Van Derbeken of the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote about it. By Tuesday, most of the bay area TV stations were on the story, including NBC 11.
Once PG&E saw that blaming the victims wasn’t exactly winning over any new fans, it issued a hasty press release stating that it never “intended” to blame the victims. It filed new papers with the court saying the same thing. Trouble is PG&E’s new court papers assert the defenses of “comparative negligence” and “contributory negligence” too. That is, PG&E’s new papers, just like its old, blame the victims for their own injuries.
As CBS 5 noted, PG&E’s blame game is “astonishing,” and its backpedalling is too little, too late.