Calif. judge sets July trial for gas blast suits

By the Associated Press | October 6, 2011 | 3:25 PM EDT

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) — A judge has set a new trial date for dozens of lawsuits filed against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. after last year's deadly gas pipeline explosion near San Francisco.

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Steven Dylina scheduled the trial date for July 23, 2012, for the more than 90 suits filed against the utility.

On Thursday, the judge ordered attorneys for the plaintiffs and the company to meet in December to set up a process so that suits filed by victims and their families can be brought to trial as a group.

Lawsuits brought against the company by shareholders will be heard separately.

The Sept. 9 explosion in San Bruno killed eight people, injured dozens and destroyed dozens of homes in the suburb overlooking the San Francisco Bay.