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California Court Mistakenly Posts Secret PG&E Settlement with Teen Girl

| Sep 12, 2012 | Uncategorized |

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. agreed to pay more than $2 million to a teenager burned in the 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people and destroyed dozens of homes, according to secret settlement documents mistakenly posted by a California court.

The documents provide the first glimpse at settlements reached by the utility in lawsuits filed by victims of the blast. Details of settlements reached with more than a quarter of the roughly 400 plaintiffs have previously been confidential, the San Mateo County Times reported on Wednesday.

The documents posted on the San Mateo County Superior Court website show the company paid the teenage girl $1.8 million and an additional $677,700 to cover her attorneys’ fees and $19,400 for medical expenses. The girl suffered second and third-degree burns in the blast that was blamed on an inferior pipeline weld. Her injuries required extensive treatment and will likely leave her with permanent scars, the lawsuit states.

The documents, sealed by court order, were filed on July 18. It was not immediately clear how they got online.

“From the clerk’s office to the IT department, something happened,” said Judge Steven Dylina, who is presiding over the girl’s case. “I don’t know where the glitch is.”

The page on the court’s website connected to the San Bruno blast was briefly shut down but was back up on Thursday.

PG&E would not say if the disclosure would impact other civil cases. Some victims have complained that lack of information about other settlement amounts has made it difficult for them to evaluate offers from the utility.

“The contents of any settlement remain confidential but we stay committed in our efforts to resolve these matters as quickly and fairly as possible,” PG&E spokeswoman Brittany Chord said last Thursday.

For information on California Business Law, contact a professional California Business Attorney. In the San Jose area or within California, call Amiel Wade at Wade Law Group at(888) 909-9430.