PG&E charged in California wildfire last year that killed 4

PG&E charged in California wildfire last year that killed 4


What do you have to do for the corporate veil to be pierced these days? They killed a ton of people by deciding not to spend money on their infrastructure. That wasn't some perfectly spherical abstract corporate entity. People made those decisions.


They killed eight people in their own homes from gas lines that were not maintained. They charged ratepayer for the maintainace costs, but did not actually do the work. Imagine sitting down with your first cup of coffee in the morning, and that being the end of everything for you.


One of the surviving burn victims in that explosion got swindled out of his settlement money by the lawyer he hired too. Now he’s facing a lifetime of surgeries he can’t afford. It’s an all around nightmarish situation. So terribly heartbreaking.


Who is the lawyer ?


Tom Girardi. He was the lawyer on the Erin Brockovich case. It’s actually a huge scandal right now because he was once an EXTREMELY powerful and high profile lawyer in California and it’s only just coming to the public’s attention that he’s been doing this for at *LEAST* the last decade or so in countless other high profile cases, like Lion Air flight 610 (despite there being lawsuits over it for the last few years). He’s been disbarred now but he went “broke” and they’re trying to figure out where approximately $50-80mil went. There’s a documentary about it on Hulu (Housewife & the Hustler IIRC) too because his wife has been on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for the last 6 years flaunting their stolen wealth.


Oh man, just read about him, he bribed the people who maintained the Bar licenses. That’s awful, if you can’t even trust the rating of people it’s just like Yelp.


Yeah I think this is leading to a whole federal investigation of the california bar association or something along those lines. It’s a huge mess. But the worst part is the victims likely will never see a penny of their money...


Thomas V. Girardi if it’s the same story I read.


Remember the huge eastern seaboard blackouts from early 2000’s? One of them was caused by a squirrel making a branch sag into a power line. Melted appliances in a couple homes right by where it happened. One squirrel caused the whole thing because the power companies knew no one would enforce that shit. And they still don’t E: IIRC that was the biggest/the most impactful one, I wanna say 2002


I’m sure it would have been easier for those effected to try and sue the squirrel instead of suing the power company.


Californian politicians don’t give a damn about the plebs outside their gated homes, let alone outside their cities.


Well yeah, most politicians don’t give a shit about their constituents




Yes! Thank you for correcting. I was going from memory and the longer I thought about it, the more I knew I was way off. Mixed it up with something else. Damn. That had to have been a brutal day. Kudos to you for working through it


This is literally propaganda lines being regurgitated lol. The San Bruno gas pipeline failed due to a seam weld that was improperly manufactured. The gas pipelines are maintained per CPUC and FERC regulatory requirements and they’re audited for it every year. Pge doesn’t manufacture pipelines, they delivery energy. They were told by the manufacturer that the pipe was manufactured correctly. The issue with Pge was that they weren’t able to find the manufacturer records. This is all public info. Nuance doesn’t sell papers though so this has to be scandalized due to our idiotic press model of relying on ads for media success which obviously incentives sensationalism over journalistic integrity. Blah.


*The utility giant was convicted of six felony charges connected to the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion.* https://abc7news.com/pge-fine-pacific-gas-and-electric-san-bruno-fire-explosion/1722674/


Yeah. Related to their record keeping practices. Not their pipeline maintenance program.


Really. 4 homicides due to their record keeping lol


The record keeping was the charge for the San Bruno gas pipeline failure because their records didn’t demonstrate the testing of the seam weld to contain hundreds of pounds of pressure of gas. The 4 homicides charge is for electrical equipment sparking and causing a fire. Do you understand engineering?


So, that sounds like to me that if it wasn't punishment for "record keeping" then it'd naturally just be manslaughter. Meaning what else can they say? "Yeah, we did that shit" or in this case didn't


Yes lol. And the records didn’t demonstrate it, resulting in the death of 4 people. Do you understand how anything else besides engineering works?


>Do you understand how anything else besides engineering works? If they're an engineer, then it's almost certain that they do not but believe otherwise.


The records didn’t demonstrate what?


That they did any of what you said. They *claimed* to have properly manufacture gas pipes, they *claimed* to have been performing maintenance as-per regulations, however they could not produce evidence of such and so it was assumed that they did none of those things. Corporations claiming "bad record keeping" to auditors is the equivalent of an accused answering prosecutor questions with "I don't recall". I don't believe for a second that they were doing all the hard expensive stuff they were required to but *gosh darnit* if they didn't forget to just fill the books properly.


PG&E might have a higher body count than Jeffrey Dahmer, and you’re defending them at all. For shame.


I find this attitude fascinating. Pge delivers energy to the 5th largest economy on the planet. The service territory is the largest on the planet as well (I think?) with vastly different microclimates of coastal and valley weather conditions. Ok so we’ve established that it covers more area than anyone else- this it stands to reason that there’s a higher probability of a failure for that system. Ok. Let’s also think about any other engineering failure causing fatalities. Mudslide due to drought then rains? Is caltrans crucified? Anyone? How about a bridge failure , building collapse due to earthquake? I never see the vilification like I do with Pge. I just find the expectation that a company should run gas an electricity- two literally deadly commodities- to over 5 million people for over 1 hundred years and have no engineering failures. People must think PGE has some godlike powers lol. The first thing you learn in engineering is that literally everything fails, eventually. It’s foundational to the practice. The best we feeble-brained humans can do is try to learn from one failure to prevent it from happening again. All safety laws, all of them, are written in blood. So why do we have the ability to understand that regarding every single industry, including power (if a smud line goes down people seem to have the ability to understand that wires flapping in the wind are subject to environmental factors and can fail) but for some reason think Pge should have a supernatural ability to perfectly run deadly energy with zero issues ever. It really piques my interest. It’s a great media success that no one questions this attitude. Very sensational and leads easily to righteous indignation. Anyway their lines and wires are all maintained per code. Things fail under extreme weather conditions and due to material failure. That’s the nature of entropy.




And San Bruno is a a tiny disaster in comparison to the record breaking fires that they have caused since 2017. Santa Rosa in 2017 and Paradise in 2018 were decimated, and every year since. Not to detract form the San Bruno tragedy, but shit people, THOUSANDS of homes have burned. In fact in my area, insurance companies not issuing fire coverage for mortgages, you have to purchase federal disaster insurance at enormous expense. The trauma from these events lasts for years and years and years in unimaginable amounts of ways.


Paradise was a lot more than decimated. Fuck PG&E.


Not sure if your heard…but the person you’re talking to is an engineer…


Showerthought: If it weren't for newspapers competing for clicks, they wouldn't need to scandalize or hyper-inflate every news story; pure capitalism makes everything worse.


They have a horrific history of not giving a shit about people. It amazes me that this company is still allowed to operate after literal decades of proof that they consider it cheaper to pay off victims than do the right thing.


84 fucking counts of involuntary manslaughter. It's like something from the industrial revolution.


I lived in nor Cal for 9 years, and they’re a monopoly in certain areas. They were the only choice in my area. I literally could not switch to another company, even though I badly wanted to.


Dude corporations have all the good parts of “human rights” since Citizens United, and none of the bad parts like punishment for murder lol. America is basically a corporation at this point.


When the word "corporation" came into being, the world started on the dark timeline. Trying an organisation itself for the crimes committed by individuals who worked there is the stupidest fucking thing humanity has ever done.


It makes sense for financial liabilities even if it's sometimes abused. It's fucking horrific when it comes to the human consequences.


With respect, I believe the entitlement of shareholders to demand fiscal restitution from anyone at all, regardless of the nature of a corporation vis-a-vis litigation as an individual or organisation, is also a source of many of society's issues. Unless you're referring to taxation, in which case I still hold that those responsible for irresponsible decisions be held responsible.


The limitation of financial liabilities is the bit that makes businesses work. They can't come after everything you have if your business fails. Everything else is dressing, and some of it is definitely out of whack these days.


By limiting liability we basically legalized murder because now there's no way to stop them. Corporations are not more important than lives


If I could get charged with murder if I failed to anticipate any tree falling anywhere in the PG&E network, I wouldn’t work there for any salary. Those people,could run their own power.


It's not failing to anticipate, it's knowing it's a problem and then not doing anything about it. It'd be like I KNOW my brake line is fucked and it might go out at any moment my mechanic told me, but I don't fix it and I crash and kill someone, it's not murder but you very well could be charged with manslaughter for that because you KNEW the problem existed and still acted recklessly


I have never heard of people being charged with murder for not getting g a car repair done. If that were the case, several of the shops I’ve stopped going to would use that as a sales technique.


Limiting liability definitely should not extend to deaths.




This. I am part owner of an LLC. We still don't make much money but it slowly growing as we get more clients. Granted I take care of small, exotic, and special needs pets. And I have insurance for if something catastrophic happened with a job due to negligence. (I have it as a formality since, yanno, keeping the animals happy and healthy is the whole point.) Having an LLC protects me as a teensy tiny business owner (2 employees).


It's existed since Roman times, actually, and was part of the reason Rome became such a great, stable power. But they weren't *nearly* foolish enough to declare a corporation a "person" nor to declare that a corporation's *only* cause was to generate as much money as possible. Those two additions are the US' own from the early 70s, and look where it's taken things. EDIT: Downvoted for a historical fact. Yay reddit.


Are you really thinking it's OK to take people's entire life savings, their property, and future earnings away (and then some)? Are you sure that's fair and equitable? That's why we have corporations.


I hate corporate America too, but even I strongly disagree. Yes corporations, and our lack of control over them, are an incredibly serious problem, very likely the largest threat to our democracy in existence today. But ... do you like cars, computers, cellphones, AC and heating, refrigerators, etc.? We'd have none of those things (or have them much, much later than we actually do) without corporations. Without corporations, people could never have taken the financial risk to make all those things possible. Also, let's not pretend rich people running things somehow started with corporations. Read a little history and you'll learn the regular person has been getting screwed by elites *long* before corporations ever came into being.


Thats a poor argument, we would still have all of those things even without LLCs. Corporations don't invent things, people do.


No. You can’t design new integrated circuits in your basement. You can’t develop new mining techniques in your backyard. You can’t develop life saving medicine in your kitchen. These things are only possible when large groups of people with money get together and put in millions of man hours of research and development. Corporations aren’t the only way of getting organised, but they work pretty damn well.


Really, so you think "inventing" a product is all it takes to bring it to market? Really?


Just want to point out that spending money on infrastructure is actually how California utilities make their money, they don't actually make money on selling you electricity per se. According to the article, it looks like they're being held liable because it was caused by a tree that fell into the line that they did not remove.


Just like with the 5 other fires they've started in the past few years, PG&E deferred line maintenance in order to pay their executives more money. They KNEW this could have deadly consequences, because of the previous FIVE fires, but they did it anyway because there's literally NO way to hold them accountable. These people are basically serial arsonists who are being enabled by the state.


Thank you! I live in an area that is devastated year after year by these fires, many many of my friends have lost everything they own. Why the fuck are people defending this garbage???




Naw, you need that for the Board of Directors, otherwise that board will just elect a Sacrificeo with the promise to pay out to their family.


PG&E is controlled by the California Public Utility Commission, and its board is appointed by the state's governor. So if you're calling for the death penalty for the man ultimately in charge, I think you'd find some support for that.


Isn’t this what RICO laws are for?


Ford Motor Company all over again.


>[PG&E] pleaded guilty last year to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter in a 2018 blaze ignited by its long-neglected electrical grid that nearly destroyed the town of Paradise and became the deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century. >Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett announced the 31 charges, including 11 felonies, against PG&E, saying it failed to perform its legal duties and that its “failure was reckless and criminally negligent, and it resulted in the death of four people.” It's not their first time being charged this way either. What the actual fuck. 84 counts of manslaughter would put me behind bars for life. They just paid some money. It obviously wasn't much of a deterrent because now they face another 31 charges for a similar situation. It was probably cost effective to not replace the infrastructure and take the fines. >“One of our primary functions here is to hold them responsible and let the surviving families know that their loved one did not die in vain,” [Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett] added. Every one of them died in vain and nothing in the current legal system can change that.


What density of legal action is required to see practical action taken against a perfectly spherical CEO?


You need an infinitely thin blade to pierce it.


Excuse me sir/ma’am/non-binary but corporations *are* a person according to the law written by people bought and paid for by corporation person…


>PG&E also remains on criminal probation for a 2010 *pipeline explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area city of San Bruno that killed **eight** people*, giving a federal judge oversight of the company. What the fuck? How do they keep getting away with this?


As a born -and-raised Californian I won't accept anything as a solution to this other than PG&E being sued into oblivion and forced to become a publicly owned and accountable utility provider. Anything else is just a slap on the wrist and cost of doing business for them. Everyone knows we keep having these problems because instead of reinvesting their profits in retrofitting and maintaining equipment, they pay shareholders. Utilities and essential services - like healthcare and other things that are currently "industries" - simply cannot be run as for-profit if you want any sort of useful or beneficial social outcome.


The ceo of PGE is paid in the millions, and he gets to step down with no loss to his vast wealth. Fuck these rich capitalist psychopaths


The CEO is a woman, but your point still stands.


I was referring to the ceo during 2020 when the campfire happened. His name is William smith and made over 6 million dollars in that role. My fucking utility bill was hundreds of dollars each month during that same time. I swear I fucking hate that a necessary public good is made for profit.[pge ceo during 2020 ](https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/04/08/pge-execs-pay-raises-2020-sec-docs-gas-electricty-wildfire)


Ok, that makes sense.




Oh gosh i was totally mistaken thank you for this


Bourgeois feminism is not real feminism👏🏻👏🏻




All the fines will do is raise our rates in the future.


PG&E did it a couple years ago for the big fires, they'll do it again this time.


I wouldn't stop at suing the company--I think the people that signed off on this should be held criminally liable.


Aren’t rates and maintenance requirements dictated by CPUC? That’s as public as it gets. It’s like an organization with the worst of public and the worst of private.


In many parts of the US utility companies are intimately connected to politics, so much so that local candidates and officials literally make sure to have folks from those organizations in their rolodex. Imo, additional laws should be passed to criminalize varieties of those ties and related actions.


They're a state allowed utility monopoly. They can't go bankrupt because it'd ruin all the gas and electric services in the entire state. So they just keep getting bailed out. They're even being allowed to charge customers more money to make up their debt obligation/pay off all the previous issues


Simply put, no one else will step in to do the job.


That's not true. PG&E has a stranglehold that they're refusing to let go of. https://www.abc10.com/amp/article/news/local/manteca/manteca-wants-to-break-away-from-pge-because-of-potential-power-shutoffs-but-how-likely-is-that-to-happen/103-67bc1a8a-84e9-4a31-b8ae-e3605e9f1163


Wild. I had not heard about Manteca attempting this. Thanks.


I just got the Manteca Waterslides jingle stuck in my head.


Give it to the state then.


investor capitalism is more important than your life, PG&E burned down the entire town of Paradise and it didnt even slow them down.


When you provide a necessary good/service to a good portion of the state, you gain immunity to punishment if the state can't/doesn't want to provide that good instead.


It's called capitalism. The rich do whatever they want.


Cool, wake me up when someone who made the decisions that lead to the deaths actually goes to jail over it.


This won't do a single thing. Year after year this happens, the same charges come, they shell out a couple million and it's off to the races again.


Then they raise prices on consumers


For bonuses for their higher ups.


Whatever you fine them just get passed on.


Hey that fine of $2 million dollars is doing to cripple them! /s


If corporations are people at what point do we say that PG&E is a literal serial killer and maybe deserves a harsher punishment than fines?


Corporations are *rich* people and therefore exempt from pleb laws.


"You have been found guilty by a jury of your peers, I hereby sentence you all to... an ALL INCLUSIVE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLAND RETREAT!! For 90 days you'll bask in the sun and fun of one of our luxurious suites where you can enjoy scuba diving, fine dining and total body massages"


That’s Pacific Grift & Extortion for you. Business as usual


SHUT. THEM. DOWN. Take state control of this shit company.


Or, do what all the other states/ other parts of California do and break them up. Have power and gas controlled at the city or county level. That’s how other parts of California do it and it works great.


The argument I've heard against this is that the rural areas that have much higher risks and much fewer people would have difficulty paying for their own infrastructure by themselves. It would work out great for San Jose but would be a disaster for Tuolumne County.


Sounds like a simple matter to group counties together.


Like when the teacher in high school tells the class to form their own groups. Inevitably you have a few left over that nobody wants in their group.


Its already controlled by the state. PG&E can't buy a new coffee machine without submitting the approval to the CPUC first. The CPUC board is appointed by the state's governor.


So what? They'll have to pay 1% of their profits from the year as a fine?


i think 1% is too generous 😂


Reminds me of when mr burns gets fined 3 million for dumping toxic waste and he pays for it with the money in his pocket.


Watch what you say about Newsom's favorite donor.


Didn’t Newsom have dinner with a PG&E lobbyist at French laundry during lockdown


He’s been protecting them for years as they keep buying him off.


Sounds like their investment is paying off nicely!


Remember when Trump called that town *Pleasure*. That was fuckin’ weird.


*If the utility is convicted of involuntary manslaughter, the punishment would be a fine for each person killed in the Zogg Fire last year near the city of Redding. A corporation “can’t go to jail, so we’re talking fines, fees, the ability for the court to order remedial and corrective measures,” Bridgett said.* And this is reason 1-A that we need to overturn Citizens United. Free speech is for persons. Corporations are not persons. Rate payers will pay these fines, and PG&E have already filed for bankruptcy to dodge previous judgements against them.


I’ve been interviewing victims of the 2018 Camp Fire, in Paradise, Magalia, Concow… the level of negligence and laziness that comes through about PG&E is incredible. Mind boggling, really. And PG&E just quickly declared bankruptcy and made everyone burnt out sue them through an onerous process lined with lawyers hoping to make a fast buck.


PG&E has a habit of killing innocent citizens all around the world…..


Fuck PG&E, they have a history of negligence and destruction.


A company was charged? WTF is that? It's people making these decisions. Time to put the CEO in jail. Then you'll see an actual change. Of course, I know that the politicians are all bribed so the company will pay a fine out that equates to a few minutes of profit and nothing will change.


If corporations are "people," can the C-suite be charged for manslaughter? Placed in jail and denied bail due to the severity of the crime and the large potential flight risk? At the very least, sued to their last dollar and taken over by the state or a non-profit that will value lives instead of endless profiteering?


Will any executives see jailtime? If not who cares?


If a corporation is a person and therefore entitled to free speech it should be able to be changed with murder


They have been charged with manslaughter, which is the appropriate charge. This was not a deliberate attempt to kill.


Another reminder that utilities should be publicly owned. It's not complicated. Everybody needs them. They are natural monopolies. It should not be legal for them to be owned privately.


This is the same fucking company responsible for burning down 5600 hectares in Ontario in 2018. Nothing was done about it, swept under the rug and forgotten about. Aside from the people that lost their homes, cottages and businesses of course. It's always carelessness too. Abolish the company and put the board members in jail.


Wait, what? I thought PG&E was in California, nowhere near Canada.


There is an Ontario in California


Now that Newsom isn’t being recalled and our state hasn’t been subverted, can we PLEASE vote him out? [Newsom and PGE go hand in hand.](https://www.abc10.com/article/news/local/abc10-originals/newsom-pge-protection/103-65ca1d41-8efe-45b4-87bc-0cdecc714378)


This company, since being taken over by corporate stooges, has to be up there with the most corrupt and heartless organizations this country has ever seen.


Fuck PG&E with a ten foot pole but let's be honest about what the inevitable outcome of this is going to be... Californians pay way too little for their infrastructure given their desire to live in either a desert or in the mountains.


What they did is legal for the right price, our government and courts say a shitty little fine is justice. It would be justice to shutter the company and charge the principles.


Manslaughter charges? Ok, STFU you corrupt corporate boot lickers.


If you voted “No” then you should be okay with this.


How do I become a corporation that is above the law?


Buy some politicians. Be sure to get them from both sides.


Make them state owned or force non-profit, the blackout games from Enron games stopped really quick when they did this. Same needs to happen here. Deregulation in the late 90s of power utilities was filled with mistakes.


The CEO should be charged, personally, and sent to prison. Making them jut pay a fine is not justice.


The punishment should be ~~socialization~~ become part of the government


Which California state prison are they sending her to?


What about the fire from 2018 that killed countless more…?


Duh, they’ve caused almost all the fires we’ve had please someone how is this acceptable. They are criminals.


We need to stop treating owners as legally distinct from their companies in cases like this


And the penalty will be big fines. What good is a fine if it is ultimately being paid by the customer base?


My favorite uncle passed away two weeks ago. He fled the paradise fire with just the clothes on his back. He lost absolutely everything including 50 years of his handwritten journals. He lived an amazing movie worthy life and not only is he gone, but so most of his story. Ended up with cancer from breathing in the fumes. Was part of a class action lawsuit against PG&E. We just got the first part of his settlement this week. He suffered so much and never even got to spend a cent of this “fuck you PG&E” money.


I predict the punishment will be more free money for PG&E.


Corporate accountability is a joke. If we cant make the real criminals pay then they're gonna keep burning down our towns. PG&E is absolute proof that investment capitalism is a moral hazard, it's more profitable for them to deffer maintenance and then have the tax payers pick up the bill for their malfeasance. These people are MURDERERS, we should treat them as such. Nationalize our utilities before it's too late, i'm tired of subsidizing these criminals.


Bonus checks for Pelosi and Newsom… Nothing will change here


Ahhh California. Such a great haven...


What's the difference between criminal and civil liability for a corporation? Like are executives going to be prosecuted criminally? Jail time? Cause if not, I don't understand the distinction.