Questions Arise After PG&E's Apparent Admission of Liability

You certainly remember the San Bruno Explosion on September 9, 2010. In the time since the deadly explosion there has been a fair amount of controversy about whether Pacific Gas and Electric was ready to accept liability for the deadly blast. At one point the company made statement which made it seem that they might even try to blame the residents for the explosion.

But now, PG&E had indicated that it acknowledges its negligent actions and assumes liability. Specifically, the company said in its court filing ""PG&E agrees that its use of transmission pipe on Line 132 beginning in 1956 with a defective weld was negligent and this negligence was a proximate cause of the rupture of the pipe on Sept. 9, 2010." But not everyone is satisfied that PG&E is ready to take the blame.

Representatives for some of the victims argue that while this apparent acceptance of liability is no doubt a good public relations maneuver, it may be too narrow to actually provide justice to the victims. They claim that this admission leaves open the possibility that PG&E may still try to implicate the pipe manufacturer, who has not yet been identified.

The investigation conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board did not limit its scope to a single faulty weld on a single pipe. The investigation reportedly painted a picture of a much broader corporate culture in which systemic negligence and disregard for public safety were commonplace.

While the judge in this case has described this apparent admission as a major step in keeping the lawsuit on track, the company's actions going forward will demonstrate whether there is any actual contrition behind their statements.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle "Plaintiffs' lawyer rejects PG&E's blast mea culpa," Justin Berton, Dec. 17, 2011

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