Streaks of lights from vehicles drive along highway 24 during an Oct. 10 PG&E power shutoff in Oakland, Calif. Photo: Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

PG&E lost a challenge Wednesday to a California law holding it liable for billions of dollars in wildfire damage connected to its equipment, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: The ruling in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Francisco by Judge Dennis Montali is a victory for victims of the state's 2017 and 2018 wildfires, who are hoping to be awarded damages for their affected properties in the utility’s bankruptcy.

Driving the news: In a January Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing, the embattled power giant estimated it was on the hook for $30 billion dollars in liability costs for the fires.

What's new: PG&E said it shouldn’t be subject to the "inverse condemnation" legal doctrine that "holds utilities strictly liable for covering the costs of blazes linked to their equipment — regardless of whether they were negligent," Bloomberg notes, because investors own the firm, not taxpayers. But the judge sided with the fire victims.

  • The utility and fire victims are holding discussions on a chapter 11 plan that could pay them about $13.5 billion, but they're "still preparing to litigate over whether PG&E is legally liable and how much it will have to pay," the Wall Street Journal.
  • The company was also defeated in its "attempts to get aid" from Sacramento and California lawmakers "refused PG&E’s attempts to change how the doctrine is applied, which might have reduced the amount of damages it must pay," the WSJ noted.

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Trump says he intends to give RNC speech on White House lawn

President Trump speaking to reporters on South Lawn in July. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump told the New York Post on Thursday that he plans to deliver his Republican National Convention speech from the White House lawn, despite bipartisan criticism of the optics and legality of the location.

Why it matters: Previous presidents avoided blurring staged campaign-style events — like party conventions — with official business of governing on the White House premises, per Politico.