AP News

Court mistakenly posts secret San Bruno settlement


REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) — A California court has mistakenly posted secret Pacific Gas & Electric Co. settlement documents showing it 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.

The posting provides the first glimpse at any of the settlements the utility has reached in lawsuits filed by victims of the blast, the San Mateo County Times reported on Wednesday (http://bit.ly/PsDRDm). The details of all of the settlements PG&E has reached with more than a quarter of the roughly 400 plaintiffs have previously been confidential, according to the newspaper.

The documents posted on the San Mateo County 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, which was blamed on an inferior pipeline weld. Her injuries required extensive treatment and will likely leave her with permanent scars, according to her lawsuit.

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," Judge Steven Dylina, who is presiding over the girl's case, told the San Mateo County Times. "I don't know where the glitch is."

The page on the court's website connected to the San Bruno blast has been shut down, he said.

PG&E would not say if the disclosure of the documents would have an impact on the 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 PG&E.

PG&E spokeswoman Brittany Chord said that as of the end of June, the utility had spent $145 million on injury and property claims connected with the blast. The company has estimated that claims from the blast would end up costing it $455 million.


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