DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) --Porter Ranch residents who were displaced from their homes by the Southern California Gas Co. leak have been granted more time to stay in temporary housing at the company's expense.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John Shepard Wiley Jr. granted a motion extending the temporary relocation plan through the end of May, just days from the deadline for them to return to their homes.
Some plaintiffs believe the judge indicated he would favor their side if the case goes to trial.
"You have an incredibly well-respected judge telling the Southern California Gas Co. that what they did was wrong, they're going to lose at trial and they should start taking care of these people," said attorney R. Rex Parris, who represents some of the Porter Ranch residents.
The judge also noted that there were some 80 attorneys in the courtroom representing Porter Ranch plaintiffs and he ordered them to organize themselves and return with a plan by May 4 to determine who will represent the overall group.
SoCal Gas argued in the hearing that the symptoms residents complain about such as headaches, and watery eyes are typical for this time of year. The judge disagreed, wanting to see the results of recent testing of Porter Ranch homes, before asking people to return to the site of the Aliso Canyon gas leak.
Those results are expected from Los Angeles County health inspectors by the end of May.
SoCal Gas released a statement arguing that residents should be able to return home now.
"The air in Porter Ranch has returned to pre-leak conditions and there is no scientific evidence that justifies continued relocation. For the group who choose to continue to stay relocated, today's decision unfortunately adds to the potential fear and confusion. We are disappointed in the court's ruling and we are evaluating our options."