Marysville, CA – Yuba County and eight other northern California counties and cities today announced they reached an agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and have accepted a mediator’s proposal to resolve claims related to the fires of 2017 and 2018.
The agreed settlement figure for all nine jurisdictions is $415 million, which will be allocated among each of the participating cities and counties. In addition to the still-undetermined amount to be allocated to Yuba County for the damages from the Cascade Fire, the county will be receiving $12.5 million for impacts related to the 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County.
Yuba County Counsel Mike Ciccozzi said he does not expect the county to receive the settlement funds anytime soon, because the payment is to be incorporated in, and subject to, confirmation by the Bankruptcy Court, as part of its plan of reorganization to be filed by PG&E in its pending Chapter 11 case.
Settlement amounts reached in this agreement are unrelated to claims filed against PG&E by residents, individuals, or businesses. The amounts are intended to compensate public entities such as Yuba County for losses that include damage to roads and water systems, reductions in revenues, and other public losses and costs not covered by insurance or disaster assistance programs.
“Yuba County incurred massive costs related to the fires, and those costs will continue for many years to come, so this settlement is both appropriate and necessary,” Yuba County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mike Leahy said. “We joined the lawsuit against PG&E because we have a responsibility to recover taxpayer dollars, so that other vital services to our residents are not impacted.”
Judge Jay Gandhi presided over several days of in-person mediation sessions held in San Francisco. Participants in the broader mediation included 14 public entities with various claims from the 2015 Butte Fire, the 2017 North Bay fires and Wind Complex/Cascade fires, and the 2018 Camp Fire. Judge Gandhi ultimately presented settlement proposals totaling $1 billion to address all of the claims, which PG&E and all 14 public entities accepted.
Last year, Yuba County joined the multi-agency lawsuit against PG&E through outside counsel Scott Summy, John Fiske, and Britt Strottman of Baron & Budd.