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United States v. Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 11, 2016

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

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STRIKE ALL TESTIMONY RELATED TO GOVERNMENT'S EXHIBIT 450

          THELTON E. HENDERSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On July 7, 2016, Defendant Pacific Gas and Electric Company ("PG&E") made an oral motion to strike all testimony related to Government's Exhibit 450. After carefully considering the parties' oral arguments, the Court hereby DENIES the motion.

         BACKGROUND

         On July 7, 2016, the Government introduced Exhibit 450 - an email chain launched by witness William Manegold regarding "segments that were at or above 50% [Specified Minimum Yield Strength (‘SMYS')] at [Maximum Operating Pressure (‘MOP')], " and an attached spreadsheet detailing this information. Gov't's Ex. 450 at 1. The Government then asked Mr. Manegold a series of questions about the underlying spreadsheet.

         At the close of testimony on the same day, PG&E made the following oral motion to strike all testimony related to Exhibit 450:

So I'd like to make a motion to strike all the testimony that's related to this last spreadsheet in Exhibit 450. It appeared that the thrust of the testimony . . . was that they were listing pipes at percentages higher than SMYS and there is nothing in the indictment that charges us with doing anything greater than SMYS. Apparently, their theory is that there were exceedances over MOP. So I think it's - it's not something that we were prepared to defend ourselves against. I think it's a constructive amendment and so, therefore, I move to strike the testimony.

Trial Tr., Vol. 16 at 2422:21-2423:10.[1]

         DISCUSSION

         PG&E's argument about constructive amendment is unpersuasive. The Government took steps to tie the challenged SMYS testimony to PG&E's MOP practices, which are directly at issue in this case. For example, the following exchange occurred before the admission of Exhibit 450:

Q: Is there a relationship between the percentage SMYS and the maximum operating pressure for a segment?
A: Um, yes.
Q: If the percentage SMYS is too high, would PG&E need to lower the maximum operating pressure?
A: Yes.

Trial Tr., Vol. 16 at ...


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