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Judge rebuffs PG&E's bid to upend longstanding law

Posted at 11:24 PM, Nov 27, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A U.S. bankruptcy court judge has rejected Pacific Gas & Electric's latest attempt to change a California law that requires utilities to pay for the devastation from wildfires ignited by their equipment.

The decision issued Wednesday by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali preserves a long-standing principle known as "inverse condemnation."

The law helped drive the nation's largest utility into bankruptcy protection 10 months ago as it faced at least $20 billion in losses stemming from a series of deadly wildfires in 2017 and 2018.

The ruling is a victory for thousands of people who lost their homes and loved ones in the fires.

Insurers that have already paid roughly $16 billion to their policyholders also counted on the law to help them recoup part of their losses.

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