No malicious intent, PG&E claims

Oct. 31, 2012 at 8:27 AM

SAN BRUNO, Calif., Oct. 31 (UPI) -- A lawyer for California utility PG&E said there's nothing to suggest the company was knowingly negligent in a 2010 pipeline explosion that killed eight people.

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Steven Dylina ruled that a civil jury can decide in January whether Pacific Gas and Electric Co. will face punitive damages in response to a 2010 pipeline explosion in San Bruno, Calif.

A natural gas pipeline operated by PG&E exploded in 2010, killing eight people and damaging 38 homes. The National Transportation Safety Board said PG&E didn't know what kind of pipe was beneath San Bruno. A defective weld seam on the pipeline was blamed for the explosion.

PG&E admitted negligence in the explosion, though attorney John Lyons said mistakes made decades ago charted the disastrous course.

"There is no evidence of intentionality here by PG&E," he was quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle as saying. "The engineers did not know that this pipeline had a defective weld."

Plaintiffs' attorneys said the pipeline should've never been installed, saying it was "scrap pipe from an unknown source."

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