Second set of criminal convictions in just five years places PG&E among the most criminally-convicted companies in US history
As reported by The San Francisco Chronicle, Pacific Gas and Electricity Co. (PG&E) has agreed to plead guilty to 85 felony counts for its role in the 2018 Camp Fire, California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire on record. The felonies include 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of unlawfully causing a fire resulting from a downed PG&E power line. The Camp Fire in Butte County destroyed as many as 19,000 structures and almost completely leveled the town of Paradise.
The Chronicle notes that PG&E’s guilty pleas represent “a monumental step that will lead to the California power provider’s second criminal conviction in less than five years,” making it “among the most criminally convicted companies in the history of the United States.” PG&E has agreed to pay a fine of $3.5 million with another $500,000 going toward reimbursing the Butte County District Attorney’s office. In addition, the utility company will spend $15 million to provide water to Butte County residents who lost access as a result of the damages.
Along with criminal charges and fines, PG&E is facing intense political pressure to change its structure, including a bill from California State Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco that would put PG&E under control of a new government agency called the Northern California Energy Utility District. In a similar attempt, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo has organized a coalition of local government leaders who wish to transform PG&E into a customer-owned cooperative, while the city and county of San Francisco has offered to buy the company’s local electric lines and form a local government-run utility. So far PG&E has resisted all mentioned efforts, but the company could still be bought by the state if it does not comply with the terms of the bankruptcy agreement it reached with Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this year.
California Wildfire Injury & Loss Lawyers
Lieff Cabraser represents the family of Ernest Francis “Ernie” Foss, beloved father and musician, who was killed in the November 2018 Camp Fire. Lieff Cabraser also represents plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit as well as hundreds of individual suits filed against PG&E for the devastating property damage, economic losses, and disruption to homes, businesses, and livelihoods caused by the Camp wildfire.
If you would like to speak with a California wildfire lawyer at Lieff Cabraser, call us at 1 800 541-7358 or use the form on this page.