PG&E Fire Settlement Facts
Justice For Everyone
Get the facts about PG&E's Settlement
PG&E has proposed a $13.5 billion settlement with wildfire victims across the state. The proposed settlement will help families, communities, and businesses impacted by these wildfires continue to recover and rebuild.
Claims Resolution Procedure Documents
All the documents below are available for download:
- Fire Victim Claim Treatment Plan Summary and FAQ (approved by Bankruptcy Court)
- Instructions – Voting by Phone
- PG&E – 40662-22 – Disclosure Statement Supplement (23)
- PG&E – 40662-01 – Confirmation Hearing Notice (16)
- PG&E – 40662-02 – TCC Summary (13)
- PG&E – 40662-04 – Disclosure Statement (Fully Compiled) (184)
- 6692 – Order Denying Motion for Entry of an Order Directing Supplemental Disclosure in the Form of a Letter (04-07-2020)
- PG&E Judge Won’t OK COVID-19 Letter Co. Atty Called ‘Silly’ – Law360
- Dec of Lowery ISO obj to motion
- Prime Clerk document 4006
- Prime Clerk District Court document 306
- Order – Denying Ex Parte
- Watts – Response
- Abrams – Motion to Designate Improperly Solicited Votes
- CPUC Decision approving penalty settlement
- CPUC Proposed Decision Approving PG&E Plan of Reorganization
- Order Approving Contingency Process
- PG&E Motion Approving Settlements with Federal and State Agencies
- Singleton Law Firm Joinder in PG&E’s Motion Approving Settlements
- SLF – Joint Status Report re: Status of the Vote (Dkt. 345)
- $13.5B PG&E Bankruptcy Deal Shorts Fire Victims
- Trust Documents (Plan Supplement filed 5-1-20)
- Claims Resolution Procedures (Plan Supplement filed 5-1-20)
- Plan Supplement filed 5-1-2020
- SLF Reply re: Abrams Motion to Designate Improperly Solicited Votes
- 7069 – Tosdal voting irregularities filing in Bankruptcy (5.5.20)
- 7073 – Kane (Gowins) Joinder in Abrams motion to Disqualify 13,000 fire victims’ votes
- 7128 – PG&E’s Opposition to Abrams’ Motion
- 7135 – TCC Reservation of Rights to the Motion of William B. Abrams to Designate Improperly Solicited Votes
- 7140 – Hallisay Decl – Declarations of two victims, one former WG client
- 7132 – Supp. Joinder by 11,300 Fire Victims to Opp. to Disqualify votes (20-05-08) (1)
- 7306 – TCC Objection to the Plan
- 7306-1 – TCC Objection to the Plan – Schedule of Assigned Rights
- 7306-2 – TCC Objection to the Plan – Chart of Objections
- 7300 – Creditor’s Committee – Ltd. Obj. to Confirmation
- 7182 – Order Establishing Confirmation Hearing Protocol Part 1
- 361 – Statement Debtors Statement Concerning Plan Voting Results
- 7401. (05-18-2020) Order Denying Motion to Designate Votes (Related Doc #)
- 7399. (05-18-2020) Order Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Sections 363(b) and 105(a) and Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9019 (I) Approving Sett
- 7399-001. (05-18-2020) Exhibit A – Federal Agency Settlement
- 7399-002. (05-18-2020) Exhibit B – State Agency Settlement
- 7509 – TCC Response and Objection to Scarpulo, etc.
- 7513 – TCC – Reply Exhibits, Outstanding Issues, etc.
- 7544 – SLF Limited Joinder to TCC Objections
- 7512 – Ziman Dec. – Equity and Debt Structure
- 7528-1 – PG&E – Chart of Objections and Responses
- 7528 – PG&E – Brief in Support of Plan
- 7521 – Amended Chapter 11 Plan Debtors’ – Part 1
- 7525 – Redlined modifications to Plan
- 7556 – PG&E Confirmation hearing list
- 7563 – PG&E – Second Supplement to Plan
- 7546 – Class Action attorneys designation of witnesses, etc.
- 7562 – Garrison List of Exhibits
- 7501 – Adventist, et al.’s, proposed Reply
- 7502 – Trustee’s filing
- 7563-3 – Ex. C
- 7563-1 – Ex. A
- 7472 – Abrams – Witness and Exhibit List
- 7563-2 – Ex. B
- 7462 – PG&E Witness List
- 7436 – Watts Opposition to Appointment of Examiner
- 7568 – Motion to Appoint Examiner
- 7568-1 – Motion to Appoint Examiner
- 7568-2 – Motion to Appoint Examiner
- 7568-3 – Motion to Appoint Examiner
- 7568-4 – Motion to Appoint Examiner
- 7568-5 – Motion to Appoint Examiner
- 7568-6 – Motion to Appoint Examiner
- 7568-7 – Motion to Appoint Examiner
- 7568-8 – Motion to Appoint Examiner
- 7568-9 – Motion to Appoint Examiner
- 7568-10 – Motion to Appoint Examiner
- 7568-11 – Motion to Appoint Examiner
- 378 – PG&E and TCC Joint Statement in Support of Estimation Motion
- 7594 – Agenda for Confirmation Hearing
- 7597 – Order re Adventist, et al’s, Objections
- 20-06-12 Order Approving the Parties Joint Stip re. the Reg. Rights Agrmt of the Fire Victim Trust
- 20-06-12 Order Approving the Parties Joint Stip re. the Reg. Rights Agrmt of the Fire Victim Trust
- 7930 – TCC’s withdrawal of objection to confirmation
- 8001 – Order approving Plan
- 8053 – Order Confirming Plan of Reorganization (6-20-20)
- PG&E Binder of Plan, Agreement and Procedures
- 8195 – Membership of Trust Oversight Committee
- Fund for victims of PG&E wildfires is coming up short. Will California step in to help?
What Fire Survivors Are Sarying
We need your help to spread the truth about PG&E’s $13.5 Billion Settlement.
“As a 35-year businessman (and lawyer), I fully support a thorough vetting of alternatives. To this end, this forum is very appropriate. But I want to add that I have studied this settlement closely as it has evolved and could not feel more strongly that it is the best course of action for us claimants. Although far from ideal, the only thing we can compare it to is the alternative to the settlement: a protracted bankruptcy. As a businessman, I have represented investors in a number of bankruptcies over the years and only one truism exists. In a protracted bankruptcy, only the lawyers, consultants, professional firms, and other bankruptcy infrastructure constituents win. The creditors ALWAYS lose. A lawyer friend of mine who has been active in bankruptcy law for 35 years says the process is akin to a piranha that picks the bones of the carcass clean. Time is never the friend of creditors. Again, this settlement is not ideal and has some risk, but if we think we are going to get a better outcome by passing up this opportunity, we will be sorely wrong and damaged further beyond imagination. Thank you.”
– David Tubbs Fire victim (total home loss)
Frequently Asked Questions
PG&E’s Plan of Reorganization (“Plan”) will establish a Fire Victim Trust (“Trust”) to pay all of the fire victims’ claims.
The Trust will be funded in three ways: (1) $6.75 billion in cash; (2) stock in the newly re-organized PG&E (that is, the new company that emerges after bankruptcy) that is worth approximately $6.75 billion; and (3) PG&E assign the Trust the right to recover against all of PG&E’s third-party contractors whose negligence contributed to the fires.
The $6.75 billion will be paid in three installments: (1) $5.4 billion on the effective date (which should be August 29 or sooner); (2) $600 million in January 2021; and (3) $750 million in January 2022.
The stock is approximately $6.75 billion because it may be worth more or less at the time it is issued. The agreement with PG&E requires it to give the Trust a minimum of 20.9% of the company (and possibly as much as 23.5%) of the stock in the new company. The final number will be based upon a number of factors set forth in the Plan and the Restructuring Support Agreement. There is no guarantee that the stock will be worth $6.75 billion; it could be worth more or less.
Finally, the Trust will hire an attorney to prosecute the causes of action against the independent contractors hired by PG&E whose negligence contributed to the fires. The Official Committee of Tort Claimants has estimated that these claims likely will be worth somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion dollars. After the Trust pays the attorney fees and costs, and $117 million owed to the Federal Government, any amount remaining will be put into the Trust for the benefit of the wildfire victims.
Yes. The fire victims’ vote will be completed by May 15. On May 27, the bankruptcy judge, Dennis Montali, will hold a hearing to make a final decision on whether to approve the Plan.
Yes, fire victims can vote yes or no on whether they accept or reject PG&E’s the proposed Plan. If the Plan is approved by 2/3 of the fire victims who vote, then it will apply to all fire victims, even those who voted against it. Voting began on April 1 and is on-going. The deadline to vote is May 15.
Bankruptcy law requires that 2/3 of the amount of claims vote to accept the proposed plan. Here, however, because many victims have not provided the Court with any information about the extent of their losses, there was no way for the court to estimate each case prior to voting. Accordingly, the bankruptcy judge simply assigned each individual victim’s claim a value of $1 for voting purposes only. This is a common practice in “mass tort” bankruptcies like this that involved thousands of individual claims for damages. If at least 2/3 of the dollar amount of fire victim claims who cast a ballot vote to accept the Plan, then the fire victims will have accepted the Plan.
Yes, although it is unlikely. On May 27, the bankruptcy court will hold a hearing on approval of the plan. While the Court technically has the power to approve the Plan even if the victims vote to reject it, the judge previously has stated on the record that he does not intend to do so.
The Trust will be run by an individual known as a Trustee who will oversee the process and approve the payment of the claims by the Trust. The Court has appointed retired appellate justice John Trotter as the Trustee (Justice Trotter’s biography can be found at https://www.jamsadr.com/trotter/. Justice Trotter was the head mediator in the 2007 San Diego Fires and was our first choice to be the Trustee in this case. We are pleased about his selection and believe he will do an excellent job.
The Trust will pay claims from the 2015 Butte Fire, the 2017 North Bay Fires, and the 2018 Camp Fire. A full list of those fires is available at www.pgefiresurvivors.com.
The trustee will sell the PG&E stock over a period of time for cash that will be used to pay fire victim claims.
No. The Trustee will work with the financial advisors hired by the Trust to sell the stock in order to obtain cash to pay the fire victims’ claims. No fire victim will be paid in stock.
Yes, it is critical to remember that the stock amount is not guaranteed. The $6.75 billion is an approximate amount. The value of the stock is based on the formula set forth in the RSA. The value of the stock may go up, down, or stay the same. The Trustee has a fiduciary duty to use prudent financial methods to sell the stock, there are no guarantees regarding how the stock will perform.
If the stock loses value, it may reduce the amount that all fire victims will receive on their claims. Any reduction will apply to all fire victims equally; i.e., if there is not enough for everyone to receive 100% of the value of their claims, then everyone will receive 95%, etc. However, everyone will receive the exact same discount.
If the stock increases in value, the increase in the value of the stock will not change the amount of your claim, but it may increase the amount of money that the Trust has available to satisfy all eligible fire victim claims.
The main risk is that the stock may be worth less than the estimated value of $6.75 billion (1) at the time it is issued, and/or (2) later on, if the stock value goes down. Stock value can change, and the value of the stock the trust will own is not guaranteed. The main potential benefit is that the stock may go up. If so, this will increase the amount of money available to pay victims.
The stock will be transferred to the Trust on the “effective date,” which is a date after approval of the plan by the Bankruptcy Court. The RSA states that if the effective date has not occurred by August 29, 2020, then the fire victims may set aside the Plan.
If this occurs, then the amount of every victim’s claim will be reduced on a “pro rata” basis. For example, if there is only enough money to pay everyone 95% of the value of their claim, then an individual whose approved claim is $1 million will receive $950,000, and individual whose approved claim is $100,000 will receive $95,000, and so on.
The Trustee oversees and manages the Trust. His most important duties are to formulate the claims administration procedures, oversee the money and stock in the Trust, and make sure that all fire victims are treated fairly.
The trust will employ a Claims Administrator. The Claims Administrator will assist the Trustee in resolving fire victim’s claims. The bankruptcy judge has appointed Cathy Yanni as the Claims Administrator. Ms. Yanni served as the claims administrator for the Wildfire Assistance Program and was a mediator in the 2007 San Diego Fires. (You can find more information about Ms. Yanni at https://www.jamsadr.com/yanni/.) Ms. Yanni was our first choice for this position, and we believe she will do an excellent job.
If you have a claim because of either the 2015 Butte Fire, the 2017 North Bay Fires, or the 2018 Camp Fire, the Trustee and the Claims Administrator, together with their staff, will review and determine whether your claim is an eligible claim.
Yes. The F Trust will require that you answer a questionnaire that explains the losses that you have suffered and verifies your identity. Depending on the nature of your claim, the Trust may also require you to provide certain documents and other evidence to support your claim.
If you have a claim because of either the 2015 Butte Fire, the 2017 North Bay Fires, or the 2018 Camp Fire, the Trustee, the Claims Administrator and their staff will look at publicly available information, information from experts, and the information and documents you submit in support of your claim in order to determine the eligible amount of your claim.
The losses to be paid by the Fire Victim Trust include wrongful death, personal injury, property damage, lost wages, business losses, and emotional distress. The Trustee and the Claims Administrator will describe the various types of damages that will be eligible to be paid in a document called the Claims Resolution Procedures. The Trustee, the Claims Administrator, and their staff will look at each claim individually and determine whether to pay losses other than the types set forth above.
The Trustee and the Claims Administrator are developing procedures to evaluate whether the Trust will pay punitive damages. They have not yet made a final decision on this issue.
This decision will be up to the Trustee and the Claims Administrator. To date, they have not yet made a final decision.
The current draft of the Claims Resolution Procedures can be found at www.pgefiresurvivors.com. A substantially final copy of the Claims Resolution Procedures should be publicly available by May 1, 2020.
The current draft of the Trust Agreement can be found at www.pgefiresurvivors.com. A substantially final copy of the Trust Agreement should be publicly available by May 1, 2020.
The options and avenues for review of the Trustee’s and Claims Administrator’s determination will be set forth in the Claims Resolution Procedures. As a general matter, if you do not agree with the determination of the eligible amount of your claim, you may ask the Claims Administrator to reconsider the determination. If you still do not agree with the Claims Administrator’s decision, you can appeal to a neutral arbitrator, who will hold a hearing on the issue. Finally, if you do not agree with the decision of the neutral arbitrator, you may ask for a panel of three neutral arbitrators to review the decision. Then, the Trustee may accept, reject, or revise the decision of this panel. The Trustee will then issue a Trustee Determination to you. The Trustee Determination is final with no further ability to appeal the determination.
No. Each fire victim’s claim is determined individually based on that individual’s losses. The amounts awarded will differ dramatically depending upon the nature of the loss and the evidence presented to support it.
Yes. The Trust will pay eligible claims (1) that were not covered by insurance, or (2) which were underinsured.
Yes. You cannot receive money from the Trust for the same exact losses that were paid from insurance. In other words, you cannot receive a “double recovery.” Your recovery may be reduced by the amount of your insurance.
No damages from any future fires will be paid by the Trust. PG&E would pay claims from future fires from PG&E’s insurance, the wildfire fund established by AB 1054, and funds generated from GG&E operations, and other potential sources. These claims would not be paid by the Trust.
In 2019, California passed a law, AB 1054, that created a $21 billion wildfire fund that PG&E and other investor owned utilities can use to pay damages incurred in future fires.
In order for PG&E to participate in the wildfire fund, it must have a Plan approved by the Bankruptcy Court on or before June 30, 2020. If PG&E does not meet that deadline, it cannot participate in the wildfire fund created by AB 1054.
Victims of the Ghost Ship Fire have agreed to limit their recoveries to amounts paid by PG&E’s insurance carriers. Accordingly, Ghost Ship claims will not be paid out of the Trust but will proceed with their scheduled trial in superior court.