Two federal bankruptcy courts in different states are wading through claims against Pacific Gas & Electric and Enron, trying to figure who is owed how much and who gets the money. There is also the issue of which court will rule first, with affected parties? lawyers pushing the court they think will give them a better deal to get a decision out the door. Bankruptcy judge Dennis Montali attempted without success March 5 to come to grips with the claim disputes between the two entities, which date back to the state?s energy crisis and are wrapped up in the very dense settlement between the utility and the scandal-plagued Enron. After Montali expressed dismay at the never-ending stream of nearly incomprehensible filings in his and other courts, PG&E attorney James Lopes, of Howard Rice, admitted it took his firm two years to write the underlying proposed agreement between PG&E and Enron. Montali shot back, ?It is taking me two years to understand it.? PG&E reached a settlement with five Enron subsidiaries in late December. Both bankruptcy courts must approve the deal, but the law does not specify which court should rule first. PG&E unsuccessfully urged Montali to sign off on the agreement. ?Like most of law, it is a strategy game,? said Lynn LoPucki, University of Southern California Law School bankruptcy lawyer. ?Which one goes first changes the outcome.? Getting much focus in the downtown San Francisco courtroom at the end of last week was a $315 million claim stemming from a hasty agreement PG&E and Enron made regarding the price of power post-deregulation. The price was set as the difference between the utility?s bundled costs and the California Power Exchange?s price index, which was expected to remain stable. When the wholesale price of power went soaring and the index shot up, so too did PG&E?s power costs. As one observer noted, instead of a well-thought-out agreement on a fair price, a ?quick and dirty? formula was agreed to that resulted in an ?absurdity.? The wholesale price of power under the formula went so high that PG&E?s costs of power dwarfed the PG&E bundled rate. PG&E agreed to pay Enron $315 million, but an Enron creditor told Montali that his firm was the rightful owner of the multimillion-dollar tab. John Edwards, the attorney representing the claimant, BNL bank, said a ruling on the settlement would be premature as the bankruptcy court in Texas handling the massive Enron case should rule first. Edwards claimed that the PG&E agreement to settle the dispute was ?purporting to buy silence.? ?What would you have me do other than change the settlement, wait until judge [Arthur] Gonzales rules?? Montali asked, noting he lacked the authority to rework the settlement awaiting his stamp of approval. ?What if Gonzales waits for me??