Judge Rules Jury Can Set Punitive Damages in PG&E Pipeline Blast

October 30, 2012

Superior Court Judge Steven Dylina ruled today that PG&E could be liable for punitive damages over and above the damages suffered by the fire victims.

PG&E attorneys initially asked Judge Dylina not to consider allowing punitive damages because though the Company agrees that there was negligence in their part with not completing safety test; given the information that the Company did have, they had no way of knowing that the pipe would cause an explosion.

PG&E attorneys also expressed issues about plaintiffs referring back to a 1981 explosion and fire in San Francisco.  Frank Pitre, who is representing 75 victims of the blast, said that first responders of the 2010 blast were put in the same situation as the first responders in the 1981 explosion. They did not have the right tools or the knowledge to correctly deal with the situation. 

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