PG&E must face Tubbs wildfire victims in state court: bankruptcy ruling

PG&E must face in a state court — and potentially in front of a jury — victims of a lethal inferno that scorched portions of Sonoma County and Napa County in October 2017, a judge ruled on Friday as part of the disgraced utility’s bankruptcy case.

Judge Dennis Montali, who is supervising PG&E’s $51.69 billion federal bankruptcy filing, ruled that a state court is the correct venue to determine PG&E’s potentially huge liability in connection with a deadly blaze known as the Tubbs Fire.

PG&E had sought to coax Judge Montali into making an official determination, as part of the bankruptcy proceeding, regarding what PG&E’s potential liability should be in connection with the Tubbs wildfire.

The decision to move the Tubbs liability proceeding out of the bankruptcy court and into the venue of a full-blown trial meets, in Judge Montali’s view, a key goal of all the parties involved in the bankruptcy proceeding.

“A just resolution of the claims of victims of the wildfires that have ravaged Northern California in recent years” is how Judge Montali described those crucial goals in his court ruling Friday.

A jury trial on the Tubbs fire liability, accompanied by a legal review of the causes of the inferno and any possible liability for PG&E, is the appropriate way to proceed, the bankruptcy judge determined.

In January, state fire investigators announced the Tubbs Fire was caused by a malfunction of private equipment at a residence in the Napa County town of Calistoga. The fire eventually engulfed part of Sonoma County, roared through Santa Rosa and killed 22 people.

However, attorneys for Tubbs Fire victims believe they can present evidence that shows the power was out at the residence prior to the start of the blaze at that location, which they hope to show a jury, depending on the bankruptcy court’s decision. That …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


Online clothing reseller ThredUp sews up deals with JCPenney, Macy’s

San Francisco-based ThredUp has stitched together two deals to put its consignment clothing on the racks at two of the nation’s largest department stores.

In separate announcements this week, JCPenney and Macy’s each said they would establish sections in a select number of stores to offer women’s handbags and clothing from ThredUp. Macy’s said its pilot program would involve 40 stores, while JCPenney will establish ThredUp departments in 30 of its stores.

ThredUp has made a name for itself as one of the best-known online outlets for better-quality and premium-brand secondhand clothing. The company allows customers to shop for individual items, as well as order packages of clothing based on preferred styles, brands and sizes. Customers then pay only for the items wish to keep. The company also lets people send in secondhand clothing that it sells on consignment if it meets ThredUp’s quality standards.

JCPenney announced its deal with ThredUp on Thursday. In a statement, Michelle Wlazlo, JCPenney’s executive vice president and chief merchant, said the retailer believes ThredUp will give the retailer an opportunity to reach a new type of customer.

“With the rise of online resale markets, there’s no doubt that demand for great value on quality brands is at an all-time high,” she said. “While there are more secondhand shoppers than ever before, we’ll continue to test and evaluate how this resonates with customers.”

JCPenney made the announcement about ThredUp at the same time it delivered disappointing second-quarter results: JCPenney reported a loss of $48 million and said that sales fell 9.2% from the same period a year ago.

Macy’s also made its partnership with ThredUp public Wednesday; that day, it reported second-quarter results that failed to meet expectations. Macy’s said it earned 28 cents a share, on $5.5 billion in revenue, and cut its earnings outlook for all of 2019.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Business


Real estate company Redfin closes 4 Bay Area offices after suspected gun threat

Four Bay Area offices of the Redfin real estate agency were closed for at least part of this past week after a former contractor made what the company described as an implied threat about shooting some company employees.

Seattle-based Redfin said the incident occurred Aug. 9, when a former company contractor allegedly made threatening comments over the phone to a manager of one Bay Area office. In a statement given to this news organization, Maryam Sughayer, Redfin’s vice president of communications, said the company closed four offices in response to the call.

“We took swift action and worked closely with law enforcement to ensure the safety of our employees and agents,” Sughayer said. “We are separately pursuing every available legal remedy.”

Sughayer said the four offices included one in San Francisco and three others in the region. She said the San Francisco office reopened this week, and the remaining Redfin’s branches should reopen early next week, with additional security measures in place.

Aside from the office in San Francisco, Sughayer didn’t say where the other Redfin offices that had been closed were located.

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However, according a report from KGO-TV, Pleasanton police said the fired Redfin employee had worked out of the company’s office in …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


South Bay job market rockets higher in July, weak growth elsewhere in Bay Area

The South Bay job market charged ahead during July, leading the Bay Area and accounting for a jaw-dropping one-fourth of all the jobs that California added last month, a new state government report released Friday showed.

Santa Clara County added 4,900 jobs in July, while other metro centers in the Bay Area were feeble by comparison.

The East Bay gained 100 jobs and the San Francisco-San Mateo region added just 300, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the state’s Employment Development Department.

All told, the Bay Area gained 4,900 jobs, largely because the other urban centers in the nine-county region posted weak gains or suffered outright employment losses during July.

Sonoma County was the weakest metro center in the area with a loss of 900 jobs, while Solano County lost 100 positions. All the numbers were adjusted for seasonal variations.

California added 19,600 jobs during July, which means Santa Clara County and the Bay Area produced one-fourth of all the job gains statewide last month.

The statewide unemployment rate improved to 4.1 percent during July. That 4.1 jobless rate matches the all-time lowest unemployment level on record for the Golden State, measured by a data set that stretches back to the 1970s. California achieved the 4.1 percent milestone for six straight months during 2018.

…read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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