Fifteen months after a high-pressure gas line explosion killed eight people and decimated a neighborhood in San Bruno, PG&E may finally be willing admit they might have done something wrong. It's been three and a half months since the NTSB slapped them up the side of the head and placed all the blame for the accident squarely on PG&E's shoulders, but the utility has been reticent in response to civil lawsuits in San Mateo County court up until now. A judge has now asked PG&E to say whether or not they're going to try to deflect liability in the more than 100 lawsuits now filed against them, and in papers being filed as early as today the company is now stating, "We are acknowledging we are liable for the accident."

They say their position hasn't changed, and this is merely a clarification, but just last June the company appeared to be trying to blame an unnamed third party and to deny that victims had a right to punitive damages. That question now appears to be settled, but a plaintiffs' lawyer suggests this may still just be a tactic to limit damages, given that a jury will be more inclined to be reasonable if they admit guilt up front.

It is clear, however, that PG&E will be coughing up millions upon millions for the victims, in any event, as they should.


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