More families file lawsuits against PG&EBy Martin Ricard
Two more families have filed lawsuits against PG&E in connection with the Sept. 9 pipeline explosion.
The lawsuits were filed Nov. 24 in San Mateo County Superior Court and represent seven people who were all home when the explosion happened. Several members of one family suffered injuries from the fire.
The law firm Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, who is representing numerous other residents who were affected by the fire, filed on behalf of the Migos and Stokes families.
According to the Migos family's suit, Ana Migos was at home with her 2-year-old daughter when the explosion rocked the Crestmoor neighborhood. Now, the suit claims, Ana and her husband, Charles, have to take sleeping pills every night because the overwhelming stress from reliving the disaster daily has made them sleep-deprived. Their daughter can't take naps during the day and talks about a "scary fire in the sky" every day, the lawsuit alleges.
Edward Stokes, 76, and his wife Josephine, 75, were at home with their two sons on the night of the fire. As they all tried to escape, Edward's glasses melted on his face and Josephine suffered burns to her face, according to the lawsuit.
Their son Edward Stokes Jr. wasn't able to initially get out of his room, which was behind the family's main house, and barely escaped. He suffered a nervous breakdown and had to be taken to the hospital, the lawsuit states.
Both complaints call for injunctive relief to have Line 132, the pipeline that exploded, relocated or repaired.
The Stokes family's lawsuit also claims the fire was the direct result of Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s "ultrahazardous activities" in operating the gas transmission pipeline.
The charges include negligence, infliction of emotional distress, private and public nuisance, and trespassing. The Stokes' lawsuit also accuses the utility of strict liability.
PG&E continues to say that it remains committed to helping the neighborhood rebuild.
The utility is currently waiting to hear back about its petition to the Judicial Council of California to have one judge hear all the cases filed against PG&E related to the fire.
Copyright ©2010 San Bruno Patch. Published 12/01/2010.