Camp Fire PG&E settlement concerns

Some people say they feel the settlement is unfair and feel pressured to vote yes, and others are in favor of the agreement and just want to move forward.

Posted: May 1, 2020 6:52 PM
Updated: May 1, 2020 7:05 PM

PARADISE, Calif. - Some people say they feel the settlement is unfair and feel pressured to vote yes, and others are in favor of the agreement and just want to move forward.

"I voted yes," Linda Horton-Lyons lost her home in Magalia from the Camp Fire.

"I voted no," Stuart Glass from Magalia lost his home, as well.

"The amount of research I’ve done and looking at the plan, I think it's ridiculous," Glass said. "If feel pressured and victimized because constant radio shows, from Joe Earley pushing a yes vote from text messages and emails, all sorts of ways pushing yes votes for an unfair settlement for fire victims."

Joe Earley, an attorney from Paradise said, "There’s all these things that maybe could happen but you can't bank on that and I'm sure not going to advise my clients to jump into the darkness we have something that’s solid and enforceable."

Glass said he’s most concerned about PG&E’s $13.5 billion settlement being half cash half stock.

"The stock portion will be sold in late payments at which will be at either months even years," he said.

"The big issue is well not all of it is cash its stocks and stocks can go down true stocks can go up," Earley said.

Action News Now asked if Earley there was another alternative agreement that’s all cash,"No, if there was we would support it."

"The lawyers are going to get their 33 percent upfront first," Glass said.

"That’s not how it works its never how it works the lawyers get paid only when their clients get paid we get paid a portion of it we don’t know how much it’ll be necessary but it’ll never be before them," said Earley.

Earley says they have about 70,000 claims against PG&E, and about 30,000 of those survivors have voted yes.

"The lawyers did their due diligence and really strove to get this done as quickly as possible," said Lyons.

Lyons says she’s comfortable with the settlement knowing the safety net of back up financers if PG&E can’t pay.

"There is no other plan and we have to get out of this bankruptcy by June 30th or there is no protection for future wildfires," said Earley.

"You’re supposed to trust your attorneys they’re supposed to be your friend in a lawsuit when they give you a strong recommendation to vote yes you’ll probably say yes but the problem is there's so many documents out there people don’t do their own research that they don’t want to put in the effort to make their own assumption on the vote they need to make," Glass said.

Earley is a Camp Fire survivor and lost his home alongside the thousands of others.

"I understand people want more I would love more too but you can only get so much blood out of a rock," he said.

"If we don’t do this we will lose the window of opportunity to get back up on our feet," Lyons said.

A PG&E spokesperson says they are focused on getting victims paid fairly as soon as possible.

Votes are due in by May 15th and the court will meet on May 24th.

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