California Supreme Court Watch

Jun 01, 2022
Gantner v. PG&E Corporation, S273340.

#22-140 Gantner v. PG&E Corporation, S273340. (9th Cir. No. 21-15571; 26 F.4th 1085; Northern District of California; D.C. No. 4:20-cv-02584-HSG.) Request under California Rules of Court, rule 8.548, that this court decide questions of California law presented in a matter pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The questions presented are: “(1) Does California Public Utilities Code section 1759 preempt a plaintiff’s claim of negligence brought against a utility if the alleged negligent acts were not approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”), but those acts foreseeably resulted in the utility having to take subsequent action (here, a Public Safety Power Shutoff), pursuant to CPUC guidelines, and that subsequent action caused the plaintiff’s alleged injury? (2) Does PG&E’s Electric Rule Number 14 shield PG&E from liability for an interruption in its services that PG&E determines is necessary for the safety of the public at large, even if the need for that interruption arises from PG&E’s own negligence?”

Request for certification granted: 6/01/2022

Case fully briefed: 10/20/2022

Cause argued and submitted: 9/06/2023

Opinion filed: 11/20/2023

See the Order Certifying Questions to the Supreme Court of California.

See the Oral Argument.

In the news:  Simpson, Calif. Supreme Court Will Guide 9th Circ. On PG&E Liability, Law360 (June 2, 2022).

See the California Supreme Court Opinion.  (Gantner v. PG&E Corporation (2023) 15 Cal.5th 396.)

“We hold that [Public Utilities Code] section 1759 bars Gantner’s action against PG&E because the suit would interfere with the PUC’s broad and continuing supervision and regulation of [Public Safety Power Shutoffs] implementation and review. We express no view on whether Tariff Rule 14 would also prohibit Gantner’s suit.”

Majority Opinion by Liu, J.
— joined by Guerrero, C. J., Corrigan, Groban, Jenkins, Evans and O’Rourke*, JJ.
* Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One, assigned by the Chief Justice pursuant to article VI, section 6 of the California Constitution.