PG&E Points Legal Blame Toward Victims

Tuesday, Jul 12, 2011  |  Updated 6:40 PM PDT
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San Bruno Aftermath: a Look Back

The neighborhood scorched by the PG&E explosion is now empty landscape.

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PG&E is seeking a jury trial to fight lawsuits filed by dozens of victims of the San Bruno pipeline explosion.   The company made the request in a recent court filing denying that the company should have to pay damages.
       
The filing does not respond to the allegations of specific suits, but instead offers a litany of defenses the utility may seek to put forward at trial.
       
The defenses include the claim that others may be responsible for the injuries or losses suffered in the September blast, including the victims themselves.
       
PG&E spokeswoman Brittany Chord told the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday that the filing was "a standard part of the legal process."

The tone of the filings goes against the flow of apologies that have been coming from PG&E since the September explosion killed eight people and destroyed dozens of homes.  PG&E has offered cash payments to victims. In June it published a full-page ad that read "We Apologize," and admitted that the investigation showed the pipe ruptured at a faulty weld.

By late Tuesday afternoon PG&E clarified its position:

 

We want it to be crystal clear that no one at PG&E would suggest that the plaintiffs or residents of San Bruno impacted by this accident are somehow at fault for the tragedy.  Since the night of September 9, 2010, PG&E has been focused on helping the families affected by this accident. We want to reiterate PG&E’s commitment to stand by the people and community of San Bruno.

"We have always and will continue to work to do the right thing to help rebuild the community and to help the families who were impacted by the accident," said PG&E President Chris Johns. "We will not waver from that."

PG&E also said in order to assure its intent was clear it filed a supplemental amendment to the earlier filing that "explicitly" states that none of the plaintiffs are at fault. 

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