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United States v. Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 8, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
PACIFIC GAS AND ELECTRIC COMPANY, Defendant.

          THIRD ORDER REGARDING DEFENDANT'S OBJECTIONS TO MANEGOLD EXHIBITS

          THELTON E. HENDERSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On July 6, 2016, the Court issued its first set of evidentiary rulings on the 43 exhibits Defendant Pacific Gas and Electric Company ("PG&E") objects to of the 96 exhibits that the Government intends to introduce through witness William Manegold, Dkt. No. 724 ("First Order"), and yesterday the Court issued its second set of such rulings, Dkt. No. 725 ("Second Order"). PG&E lodged these objections on July 5, 2016. Dkt. No. 717 ("Objs."). The Government filed a written opposition to these objections just before midnight the same day, only hours before Mr. Manegold began testifying. Dkt. No. 718 ("Opp'n"). As Mr. Manegold is presently testifying, the Court continues its issuance of piecemeal orders on PG&E's objections with this Third Order regarding PG&E's final twenty exhibit-specific objections.

         As with the prior Orders, the Court directs the reader to PG&E's Objections themselves for a listing of each objection by exhibit.

         GOVERNMENT'S EXHIBIT 651

         This exhibit is an email chain following on the email chain discussed in Government Exhibits 648 and 649, and includes a copy of Risk Management Instruction-06 ("RMI-06") as well as a PG&E case study.

         This exhibit is admissible, provided the Government lays the proper foundation for the email being a nonhearsay statement of a party opponent under Federal Rule of Evidence ("Rule") 801(d)(2) (which, as discussed in the First Order, the Court believes it should be able to do through Mr. Manegold).[1] The exhibit is highly relevant for the reasons discussed under Government's Exhibits 648 and 649, and PG&E has offered no reason that the probative value of this exhibit is substantially outweighed by a danger of unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence.

         GOVERNMENT'S EXHIBIT 674

         This exhibit is an email exchange regarding instances of Maximum Operating Pressure ("MOP") exceedances. This exhibit is admissible. The exhibit is relevant to Count 1, as it discusses the alleged "MOP plus 10%" policy at issue in that count, and PG&E has offered no reason that the probative value of this exhibit is substantially outweighed by a danger of unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence. There is no risk that these emails will "imply[] regulatory noncompliance led to San Bruno, " Objs. at 6, because the emails do not make any reference to the explosion, and more importantly, the Government is under a continuing Court order not to argue that PG&E's alleged regulatory malfeasance caused the San Bruno explosion. See, e.g., Dkt. No. 460 at 11; Trial Tr., Vol. 5 at 663:21-664:9.

         GOVERNMENT'S EXHIBIT 714

         This exhibit is an email regarding Strength Test Pressure Records ("STPRs") and an attached spreadsheet regarding such records.

         This exhibit is admissible, provided the Government lays the proper foundation for the email being a nonhearsay statement of a party opponent under Rule 801(d)(2) (which, as discussed in the First Order, the Court believes it should be able to do through Mr. Manegold). PG&E argues that "[t]he segments on the spreadsheet show pre-1970 installation or no installation date at all, " and that "[t]his evidence is therefore irrelevant and unduly prejudicial [because there] is no indication that pressure test records were ever required under fed [sic] law." Objs. at 6-7. Given that some STPRs are required by a charged regulation (49 C.F.R. § 192.517) and that the spreadsheet includes data on at least one line charged for that regulation (Line 109), the spreadsheet is not irrelevant under the standard set forth in Rule 401. PG&E's argument that none of the segments listed in the spreadsheet actually required pressure tests (presumably a reference to the Grandfather Clause) would not (even if correct) create unfair prejudice because this goes to the weight of the evidence not its admissibility; PG&E will be able to eliminate any perceived unfair prejudice by eliciting testimony that none of the segments listed in the spreadsheet (and, therefore, discussed in the email) required an STPR under federal law.

         GOVERNMENT'S EXHIBIT 717

         This exhibit is an email regarding "lines involved in overpressuration, " as well as several attached documents: a PowerPoint containing analysis for "intentional" over pressure events; a chart detailing "Over Pressuring Events"; and spreadsheets detailing MOP and maximum allowable operating pressure ("MAOP") metrics by line.

         This exhibit is admissible, provided the Government lays the proper foundation for the email being a nonhearsay statement of a party opponent under Rule 801(d)(2) (which, as discussed in the First Order, the Court believes it should be able to do through Mr. Manegold). The exhibit is relevant, as it discusses overpressurization - a constant source of trial testimony and a topic relevant to the charges brought under 49 C.F.R. § 192.917(e) - and PG&E has offered no reason that the probative value of this exhibit is substantially outweighed by a danger of unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence.

         GOVERNMENT'S EXHIBIT 721

         This exhibit is an email exchange describing overpressurization events and an attached spreadsheet detailing those events.

         This exhibit is admissible. The exhibit is relevant, as it discusses overpressurization - a constant source of trial testimony and a topic relevant to the charges brought under 49 C.F.R. § 192.917(e) - on at least one charged line (Line 1816-01). PG&E has offered no reason that the probative value of this discussion is substantially outweighed by a danger of unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence. There is no risk that the emails will "imply[] regulatory noncompliance led to San Bruno, " Objs. at 7, because the emails do not make any reference to the explosion, and as discussed under Government's Exhibit 674, the Government is under a continuing Court order not to argue that PG&E's alleged regulatory malfeasance caused the San Bruno explosion.

         GOVERNMENT'S EXHIBIT 722

         This exhibit is an email exchange regarding intentional and unintentional pressure increases, and attached spreadsheets detailing such increases.

         This exhibit is admissible, provided the Government lays the proper foundation for the email being a nonhearsay statement of a party opponent under Rule 801(d)(2) (which, as discussed in the First Order, the Court believes it should be able to do through Mr. Manegold). The exhibit is relevant, as it discusses pressure increases - a constant source of trial testimony and a topic relevant to the charges brought under 49 C.F.R. § 192.917(e) - on at least one charged line (Line 109). PG&E has offered no reason that the probative value of this exhibit is substantially outweighed by a danger of unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence.

         GOVERNMENT'S EXHIBIT 728

         This exhibit is an email chain regarding manufacturing threats and including internal PG&E discussion regarding the requirements of the federal code.

         This exhibit is admissible. Internal PG&E discussions regarding the charged regulations are certainly relevant in a criminal prosecution that alleges PG&E knowingly and willfully violated those regulations, and PG&E has offered no reason that the probative value of such discussions is substantially outweighed by a danger of unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence. There is no risk that the emails will "imply[] regulatory noncompliance led to San Bruno, " Objs. at 7, because the emails (which largely predate the explosion) do not make any reference to the explosion, and as discussed under Government's Exhibit 674, the Government is under a continuing Court order not to argue that PG&E's alleged regulatory malfeasance caused the San Bruno explosion.

         GOVERNMENT'S EXHIBIT 756

         This exhibit is an email chain transmitting Mr. Manegold's work on the memo to file discussed in connection with ...


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