Trials & Litigation

Top regulatory counsel is off controversial case; four 'reassigned' lawyers are back on it

Following weeks of controversy over a disagreement between the general counsel for California’s utility regulator and four subordinate lawyers over the handling of an administrative case over a fatal gas explosion and fire in San Bruno, there has been a reversal of fortune.

General counsel Frank Lindh, who at one point in his career worked for Pacific Gas and Electric Co., has stepped aside from continuing in an advisory role on the case against the company. Meanwhile four lawyers who had been reassigned following a disagreement about whether the California Public Utilities Commission should seek $2.25 billion in fines against the gas company, are being put back on it, according to the Associated Press and Bloomberg.

Retired commission attorney Arocles Aguilar will substitute for Lindh in overseeing the case and determining whether to side with the lawyers or Jack Hagan, who heads the CPUC safety division. He argues that the money the gas company has already paid in repairs and system upgrades is a sufficient penalty.

See also: “State legal team seeking $2B fine in fatal gas fire is reassigned; city calls for AG probe” “General counsel is heckled by own staff during keynote speech at legal conference”

SFGate Blog (San Francisco Chronicle): “PUC official: I didn’t threaten anyone”

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