The courts have scheduled a vote for a bankruptcy reorganization that will impact the settlement in the PSE&G wildfire mass tort case that was filed last year. The original litigation is the result of an electrical spark on the part of the utility company that caused a series of wildfires in California in 2017 and 2018.
Over 70,000 plaintiffs have filed suit against the giant utility company, PSE&G. Most of them lost their homes due to massive wildfires that broke out in Northern California. The city that was hit the hardest was Paradise, California. 86 people were killed and thousands of others were displaced due to the fires.
The investigation into the fires confirmed that they were caused by electrical equipment owned by PSE&G. A mass tort case was filed against the utility company. Shortly thereafter, knowing they could not handle the $30 billion in damages that could be assessed, PSE&G filed for bankruptcy in 2019.
The bankruptcy is a reorganization that is scheduled to be approved on June 30, 2020. However, in order for that to happen, at least 2/3 of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit must approve the terms of the settlement and the bankruptcy.
The current settlement is estimated to be about $13.5 billion. Half of the settlement is to be paid in cash and the other half is to be paid in the form of stock in PSE&G. Plaintiffs were given until May 15 to approve or deny the settlement. The problem is, many plaintiffs have not received their ballots. The delays are attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another issue is that the attorneys fear that many plaintiffs won’t agree to the settlement because the value of PSE&G stock has dropped so much during the pandemic.
If you feel you may have a tort claim, contact our office right away.