On July 9, 2019, the California 2nd District Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that victims of the worst gas well blowout in U.S. history are entitled to receive criminal restitution for SoCalGas’s failure to immediately report the leak. The case goes back to the trial court where victims will present evidence of the damages they suffered because of SoCalGas’s reporting delay.
The Court ruled “there was enough confusion about the scope of the sentencing hearing to warrant a new hearing on the issue of restitution only for damages occasioned by the three-day delay in reporting the leak.”
The decision also stated “because the scope of the restitution hearing was not settled in advance, we believe it fair (and within the spirit of Marsy’s Law) to remand for a further hearing to determine what, if any, damages were caused only by the three-day delay in reporting the leak to the proper authorities.”
This ruling comes shortly after the July 3 decision to set a trial date for the first wave of civil lawsuits against Sempra and SoCalGas, which is June 24, 2020.
A copy of the ruling can be found here.