Jul 28, 2014
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Why Was the PG&E Trial Delayed Until Next Year?

The trial against PG&E for the 2010 San Bruno fire was originally scheduled to take place before the second anniversary of the explosion. But constant delays have pushed back the start date.

Why Was the PG&E Trial Delayed Until Next Year?

San Bruno residents have been waiting for months for the PG&E trial stemming from the 2010 pipeline explosion to start.

The trial was set to start Oct. 9, after being delayed several times before by San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Steven Dylina, who is overseeing the proceedings. 

But, according to Mike Danko, one of the attorneys representing a number of residents who sued PG&E for the explosion, Dylina recently decided to push the date back again to Jan. 2, 2013, citing a number of reasons, including how the courts throughout the state are being affected by the budget crisis.

"First the hearing on the summary judgment motions got moved. Once that happened, the trial date had to be moved," Danko said. "Because it would be nice to have the trial date pushed until after the hearing on the evidence, everything got space appropriately."

According to Danko's blog, the following is the new schedule for the court proceedings leading up to the trial:

  • Oct. 15: Hearing on whether plaintiffs’ punitive damages claims should be thrown out
  • Nov. 30: Attorneys on both sides will present before the judge what evidence, if any, they believe should be excluded from the trial
  • Jan. 2: Trial to begin with lawyers only
  • Jan. 3: Jury selection to start 
  • Jan. 14: Opening statements to start

The 2010 pipeline explosion in the Crestmoor neighborhood left eight people dead and 38 homes destroyed. Shortly after the explosion, hundreds of residents , claiming that PG&E knew Line 132—the gas transmission pipe that ruptured—was a "ticking timebomb" and that the company failed to repair it despite clear warnings.

Nearly all of the lawsuits , which could cost PG&E somewhere in the billions if a jury agreed with the plaintiffs.

PG&E has already with residents who were affected by the disaster, including all of the families whose relatives died in the fire.

PG&E CEO Tony Earley that the company's goal is to "wrap things up" with the lawsuits by the end of the year.

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