A federal judge has given final approval to the $10 million settlement among Pacific Gas & Electric Corp, its top officers, and investors for misrepresenting the impact of the wildfires the utility sparked between 2015 and 2018, the widespread shutoffs, and inadequacy of its mitigation measures, all of which drove down the company’s stock. Of the settlement amount, $2.5 million will go to the litigating attorneys that brought the class-action lawsuit on behalf of recent PG&E investors.
In spite of the high lawyers’ fees, the court found the settlement amount “reasonable in light of the complexity of this litigation and the substantial risk that Plaintiffs would face in litigating the case, given the nature of the asserted claims,” wrote Judge Haygood Gilliam of the Northern California District Court. Twenty-five percent for attorneys’ fees is common pursuant to federal guidance, he added.
The federal district court also approved $82,000 in attorneys’ costs.
The payout to plaintiffs who bought PG&E stock between Dec. 12, 2018, and Oct. 28, 2019, varies widely–from an average of $4,000 with half recovering $51 or less.
The $10 million dollar agreement represents 2% of the estimated $468 million in damages caused by PG&E safety shutoffs.