6th Circuit Majority Says Shareholder Failed To Show Presuit Demand Was Excused

CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals majority affirmed a lower court decision on Sept. 16, agreeing with the lower court that a shareholder had not shown specific facts why presuit demand upon a company's board of directors would have been futile (Patrick P. Lukas, Derivatively on Behalf of Miller Energy Resources, Inc., v. Merrill A. McPeak, et al., No. 12-6285, 6th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 19295).

International Arbitration Court Issues Order In NAFTA Dispute With Canada

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - A procedural order requiring the production of documents in a dispute in which an energy company alleges that Canada violated the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was released by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on Sept. 13 (Mesa Power Group v. Government of Canada, No. 2012-17, PCA).

Kentucky High Court: Arbitration Proper For Construction Defect Case

FRANKFORT, Ky. - The Kentucky Supreme Court on Aug. 29 overturned a Court of Appeals decision in a construction contract dispute, ruling that an arbitration agreement signed by the purchaser of a mobile home was enforceable (Energy Homes v. Brian Peay, et al., No. 2011-SC-000462-DG, Ky. App.; 2013 Ky. LEXIS 370).

Dynegy Holdings Seeks Approval For $3.5 Million Asset Sale To Helios Power Capital

NEW YORK - Bankrupt energy company Dynegy Holdings LLC on Aug. 20 moved in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York for approval of a $3.5 million asset purchase agreement (APA) with energy company Helios Power Capital LLC (In Re: Dynegy Holdings LLC, No. 11-38111, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).

3rd Circuit: Class Suit Over Oil And Gas Line Agreements Belongs In State Court

PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 16 upheld the remand of a class complaint over oil and gas line lease agreements between property owners and an energy company but found that the District Court cited the incorrect Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) exception in its decision (Jeffrey S. Vodenichar, et al. v. Halcon Energy Properties, Inc., et al., No. 13-2812, 3rd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17027).

D.C. Circuit Majority: Agency Should Decide On Yucca Mountain Application

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A 2-1 panel of the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 13 granted a request for mandamus relief stemming from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's failure to take action on the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) application to build a nuclear waste storage facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, finding that the agency is breaking the law by not rendering a decision on the application (In re: Aiken County, et al., No. 11-1271, D.C. Cir.).

Judge Refuses To Order Settlement Activities In Cleanup Suit

RALEIGH, N.C. - A federal judge in North Carolina presiding over two lawsuits brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) on Aug. 12 denied requests to require third-party plaintiff PCS Phosphate Co. Inc. to engage in settlement activities but stated that she would discuss settlement timing and techniques at an upcoming conference (Duke Energy Progress Inc. v. Alcan Aluminum Corporation, et al., No. 08-CV-460-FL, Consolidation Coal Company v. Alcan Aluminum Corporation, et al., No. 08-CV-463-FL, E.D. N.C.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113337).

7th Circuit Rules That Some Claims In Whipsaw ERISA Action Are Time-Barred

CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 9 ruled that the statute of limitations barred claims by certain cash balance plan participants who alleged that the plan violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act in calculating lump-sum distributions paid to participants who left their employment before reaching normal retirement age (Lawrence G. Ruppert, et al. v. Alliant Energy Cash Balance Pension Plan, No. 12-3067, 7th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16572).

Haliburton To Plead Guilty For Destroying Evidence Related To Deepwater Horizon

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice announced on July 25 that Halliburton Energy Services Inc. has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence related to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2010, pay the maximum statutory fine and be subject to three years of probation.

Texas Appeals Panel Upholds $11 Million Trade Secret Award To Natural Gas Geologist

TYLER, Texas - A unanimous 12th Texas Court of Appeals panel affirmed an $11 million judgment against a natural gas extraction company July 10 for misappropriation of a trade secret from a geologist who discovered the potential value of gas in a geologic formation known as the James Lime but reversed an award of $28 million in disgorgement and attorney fees for lack of a fiduciary relationship between the geologist and the company (Southwestern Energy Production Co. v. Toby Berry-Helfand, et al., No. 12-11-00370, Texas App., 2013 Tex. App. LEXIS 8549).

10th Circuit Panel Overturns Royalty Class Certification, Orders Commonality Review

DENVER - A unanimous 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel reversed certification of an Oklahoma natural gas royalty calculation class action on July 9 after concluding that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to apply a strict burden of proof on the plaintiffs with respect to the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a) commonality standard and remanded with instructions to review application of the Rule 23(b)(3) commonality standard to the class claims (Chieftain Royalty Co. v. XTO Energy Inc., No. 12-7074, 10th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13837).

7th Circuit Upholds Dismissal Of Clean Air Act Suits As Untimely

CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 8 upheld that dismissal lawsuits brought by the federal government and State of Illinois against three energy companies accused of violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) by failing to obtain permits before upgrading their power plants after agreeing with a federal judge in Illinois that the suits were barred by the act's five-year statute of limitations (United States of America, et al. v. Midwest Generation LLC, et al., Nos. 12-1026, 12-1051, 7th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13709).

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Federal Judge Trims Securities Law Claims In Class Action Lawsuit

DALLAS - Partial dismissal of a securities class action lawsuit is proper because the lead plaintiff in the action failed to show that certain defendants sold the securities at issue, a federal judge in Texas ruled in an opinion made available on July 2 (In re Kosmos Energy Ltd. Securities Litigation, No. 12-373, N.D. Texas; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88809).

Supreme Court Will Not Decide Whether State Antitrust Law Is Preempted

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 declined to review a Nevada Supreme Court ruling that the state attorney general's action for damages under the state antitrust law is preempted as a matter of law by federal regulation of natural gas markets (The State of Nevada, et al. v. Reliant Energy, Inc., et al., No. 12-980, U.S. Sup.).

9th Circuit: Contractor May Collect Interest; Bankruptcy Estate Not Affected

SAN FRANCISCO - A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 21 ruled that a subcontractor was entitled to post-petition interest on a judgment it was awarded against the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) despite the fact that the DOE is a creditor in the bankruptcy of another contractor, finding that the award did not jeopardize the ability of creditors to collect on their claims against the bankruptcy estate (Ground Improvement Techniques Inc v. The Plan Committee $(In The Matter Of: Washington Group International Inc.$), No. 11-17447, Chapter 11, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 12772).

Texas Supreme Court Affirms Defense Summary Judgment For Natural Gas Well Owner

AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on June 21 affirmed summary judgment for the owner of a natural gas well against a cattle rancher who alleged that the location of a well unreasonably interfered with his cattle ranching operations because the rancher failed to meet his burden of proof under the accommodation doctrine (Homer Merriman v. EXT Energy Inc., No. 11-494, Texas Sup.).

Solyndra Trustee: Reduction, Elimination Of $141,140.46 In Employee Claims Needed

WILMINGTON, Del. - The trustee of the Solyndra Residual Trust, which was established as part of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan for alternative energy company Solyndra LLC, on June 14 filed six briefs objecting to claims asserted by former employees of the company, seeking to reduce or disallow some claims in their entirety. The combined total of reductions and disallowances sought equals $141,140.46 (In Re: Solyndra LLC, No. 11-12799, Chapter 11, D. Del. Bkcy.).

Jury's Rejection Of Amway's Interference Suit Is Affirmed By Judge

SHERMAN, Texas - Amway, the world's largest multilevel marketing (MLM) company, lost its bid for a new trial alleging unfair business practices and tortious interference in the marketing of "energy drinks" when a Texas federal magistrate judge on May 29 refused to set aside a jury's unanimous verdict for the defense (Amway Corp., et al. v. bHIP Global Inc., et al., No. 4:10-CV-549, E.D. Texas, Sherman Div.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75393).

Solyndra Creditor: $785M In Disputed Mechanics Liens Should Be Litigated

WILMINGTON, Del. - Kinetic Systems Inc., a creditor of bankrupt alternative energy company Solyndra LLC, on May 29 moved in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware for a ruling that it could pursue collecting on $785 million in mechanics liens it holds against Solyndra (In Re: Solyndra LLC, No. 11-12799, Chapter 11, D. Del. Bkcy.).

Bankruptcy Judge OKs A123's Liquidation Plan; Most Claims Repaid In Full

WILMINGTON, Del. - The bankruptcy judge presiding over the Chapter 11 liquidation of alternative energy company A123 Systems Inc. on May 20 confirmed the company's liquidation plan under which most creditors would recover 100 percent of their claims, with subordinated noteholders recovering 65 percent of the money they are owed (In Re: A123 Systems Inc., No. 12-12859, Chapter 11, D. Del. Bkcy.).

Magistrate: Insurer Not Required To Show It Was Prejudiced By Untimely Notice

ST. LOUIS - A federal magistrate judge in Missouri on May 16 found that a directors and officers and employment practices insurer is not required to establish that it was prejudiced by an insured's failure to provide timely notice of an underlying claim for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and conspiracy, granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Secure Energy Inc. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company, No. 4:11CV1636 TIA, E.D. Mo.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69320).

City: Monster Beverage Corp. Markets 'Highly-Caffeinated' Drinks To Children

SAN FRANCISCO - Monster Beverage Corp. violates the California unfair competition law (UCL) by marketing "highly-caffeinated" energy drinks to children despite demonstrated health risks, according to a complaint filed May 6 by the San Francisco city attorney (People of the State of California, et rel. Dennis Herrera, San Francisco City Attorney v. Monster Beverage Corp., No. 13-531161, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).

Judge: 4 Groups Suing Over Alleged Ongoing Oil Spill Lack Standing

NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge in Louisiana on May 4 dismissed four environmental groups from a lawsuit over an alleged ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused by an underwater mudslide during Hurricane Ivan in September 2004 after finding that the groups lacked standing to pursue claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) (Apalachiola Riverkeeper, et al. v. Taylor Energy Company LLC, No. 12-0337 "Section E," E.D. La.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64388).

5th Circuit Affirms Confirmation Of Award In Purchase Contract Dispute

NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 3 affirmed a court's decision to confirm an arbitration award in a dispute over a contract for the purchase of mixed xylene (MX) but denied a cross-appeal in relation to an award of post-judgment interest (Tricon Energy Limited v. Vinmar International Limited, No. 12-20100, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 9110).