Wall Street Journal:
The California utility becomes one of the few U.S. corporations to be convicted of manslaughter stemming from the deadly 2018 Camp Fire
PG&E Corp. PCG +0.96% on Tuesday became one of the few U.S. corporations to plead guilty to manslaughter charges as the utility admitted to criminal negligence in starting the deadliest wildfire in California history.
Chief Executive Bill Johnson entered guilty pleas on behalf of the company to 84 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter in Superior Court in California’s Butte County, where the 2018 Camp Fire razed the town of Paradise.
Mr. Johnson answered each count separately as Judge Michael Deems read the names of the individuals who died—and whose images were shown in the courtroom. He also pleaded guilty to one count of unlawfully causing a fire.
“No words from me can ever reduce the magnitude of that devastation or do anything to repair the damage, but I sincerely hope that the actions we’re taking today will help bring some measure of peace,” Mr. Johnson said in a statement to the court.
State investigators concluded that the Camp Fire was sparked by a failure of aging PG&E equipment, and the company has acknowledged responsibility. The sentencing is likely to take place later in the week, after a series of victim-impact statements are read aloud in court. The San Francisco-based company has agreed to pay a $3.48 million penalty, the statutory maximum.