Judge Appoints Mediator in PG&E Wildfire Case
Friday, November, 8, 2019
A judge has appointed a mediator to help resolve the dispute over control of PG&E. The announcement came shortly after the company agreed to extend the deadline wildfire victims have to seek payment as part of the PG&E’s bankruptcy case.
PG&E entered bankruptcy this past January, faced with mounting liabilities from the wildfires that occurred in 2017 and 2018. Victims’ attorneys had requested an extension of the deadline that was originally set for October 21st stating that many people lost homes and loved ones and had not yet been able to file claims. They also said their clients were not aware of the bankruptcy deadline or did not realize they could seek payment from PG&E.
PG&E in response asked the judge to appoint a mediator to help them resolve the ongoing issue between the company and a rival coalition of victims and bondholders pursuing reorganization of the company. The judge appointed the mediator as requested.
The company issued a statement the following day saying it was confident “that its court-approved claims notification process was broad and thorough, exceeded typical bankruptcy practices and reached the public through a variety of channels so that they had the information they needed to file claims on time.”
The original request was that the deadline be extended into January, but they accepted PG&E’s offer to extend it through December.
The judge appointing the mediator was the same that appointed a mediator nearly two decades ago during PG&E’s last bankruptcy. He is optimistic mediation will resolve the matter and stated, “Certain parties are polarized; the emotions are running higher and higher, the staggering costs (economic and otherwise) are multiplying daily and very recent events that need not be repeated here but are obvious to everyone in Northern California might make a successful reorganization even more of a challenge.”