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Appeals court clears way for trial against utility blamed for reporter’s firing

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Appeals court clears way for trial against utility blamed for reporter's firing 01/11/1994 CALIFORNIA -- A state appeals court in…

CALIFORNIA — A state appeals court in San Francisco ruled in late December that reporter J.A. Savage can proceed to trial against a utility company that caused her to lose her job because the company refused to cooperate with her, the Associated Press reported.

After officials of the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. called Savage’s editors, Energy User News fired Savage and the Journal of Commerce stopped taking her free-lance articles, the AP reported.

According to the AP, the appeals court found that a utility executive told one of Savage’s editors that the company would not deal with anyone who had written for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, a paper that is a frequent critic of the utility.

The court noted that prior cases have prevented government agencies from denying disfavored reporters access to news conferences and information, the AP reported.

The court held that as a state-regulated monopoly, the utility must treat people equally and may not retaliate against journalists or newspapers because of what they report, the AP reported.

(Savage v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co.; Media Counsel: Scott Fielder, Grass Valley)

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