San Bruno Gas Pipeline Explosion
Photo Credit: Brant Ward, San Francisco Chronicle


The destructive 2012 gas pipe explosion in San Bruno that claimed eight lives and destroyed 38 homes has yielded a multitude of lawsuits against PG&E. In a settlement with the Greig family, PG&E agreed to strengthen its gas pipeline safety regulations. The utility must maintain closer observation of the lifespan of its pipelines, and must calculate a minimum safe lifespan for pipes in populated areas. This will allow PG&E to identify weaker or aged pipes and replace them before they become dangerous, potentially preventing incidents like the one in San Bruno.

The Greigs will be able to receive an audit of the company's progress on these changes, and can prompt mediation talks if they see that the utility is not holding its end of the settlement. The family will receive regular reports describing progress made.

The deadline for these changes is set on December 31st, 2015, or whichever date is decided on by the California Public Utilities Commission. PG&E states that it has already begun following the new requirements, but the process will be an ongoing effort.

According to Federal investigators working for the National Transportation Safety Board, PG&E's records were so poorly kept that they couldn't detail several important features of the faulty pipe running under San Bruno. This negligence directly led to the devastating explosion.

More than 110 people who sued the utility reached confidential settlements with PG&E, though over 330 complaints are still awaiting trial. San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Steven Dylina has recently begun working on these at a steady pace, and is dealing with motions on evidence. Opening arguments are to begin on March 11th.

The Greig family lost 44 year old Jaqueline and 13 year old Janessa in the explosion, which occurred 200 feet away from their home. James had taken his older daughter Gabriela to a tennis match. The two survivors are now actively involved in charity work revolving around the San Bruno blast.

At O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley, we represent clients who have lost loved ones due to others’ negligence. With nearly 50 years of litigation and trial experience, we are not afraid to take anyone to trial that has wrongfully caused the death of your loved one, spouse, child, or family member. While most cases involving Wrongful Death settle out of court, when bringing a wrongful death suit to court, we work closely with our clients to present a full picture of the loss that surviving family members have suffered. We work to make sure you and your loved ones are receive the Fair Compensation that you are entitled too. That compensation will include present and future wages, medical expenses, and funeral costs, but it will also include loss of love, guidance and companionship, moral support, and financial support.

The attorneys at O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley are well known and respected throughout the legal community and among our clients. From our offices in Contra Costa County, San Francisco and Sacramento, we serve clients throughout Northern California. Our experience and expertise are available to you.

(Sources: Inside Bay Area)

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