LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Litigation Procedure - 3rd Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Variable Electricity Pricing Class Suit

PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 12 affirmed a trial court's decision to dismiss with prejudice a breach of contract class claim brought by a Pennsylvania resident who claimed that an energy company violated its service contract by raising the rates each month (John D. Orange, et al. v. Starion Energy PA, Inc., et al., No. 16-1949, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19939).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Company: Battery Maker Has Duty To Indemnify In Fracking Injury Lawsuit

OKLAHOMA CITY - A hydraulic fracturing company on Oct. 9 filed a brief in an Oklahoma federal court arguing that the company that made a lithium battery pack that exploded on a fracking rig and injured a worker has a direct duty under Oklahoma law to indemnify the fracking operator because the explosion was caused by an allegedly defective design (Jacob McGehee, et al. v. Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation, et al. and Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation v. Engineered Power LP, et al., No. 15-145, W.D. Okla.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Appeals Panel Partially Affirms, Denies Judgment In Premises Liability Suit

EASTLAND, Texas - A panel of the 11th District of the Texas Court of Appeals on Oct. 5 affirmed summary judgment on premises liability and negligence claims against the owner of a gas lease in a premises liability suit; however, it reversed judgment granted in favor of the lease owner on a negligent hiring claim because the lease owner did not amend its motion for summary judgment to address those claims (Evelyn Cuevas, et al. v. Endeavor Energy Resources L.P., No. 11-15-00157-CV, Texas App., 11th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 9399).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - ICSID Constitutes Tribunal In Energy Charter Treaty Arbitration Against Italy

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on Sept. 26 constituted a tribunal in an arbitration commenced by a group of exploration entities against the Italian Republic, asserting claims for violation of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) (Rockhopper Italia S.p.A., Rockhopper Mediterranean Ltd, and Rockhopper Exploration Plc v. Italian Republic, No. ARB/17/14, ICSID).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Refuses To Challenge Validity Of State Agency's Radon Emissions Findings

SALT LAKE CITY - A federal judge in Utah on Sept. 15 awarded summary judgment to a uranium mining company after refusing to challenge the validity of a state agency's findings that the company's radon emissions were excessive and in violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA) (Grand Canyon Trust v. Energy Fuel Resources [U.S.A.] Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-243, D. Utah, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150279).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Battery Company: Design Changes Caused Chemical Injury Explosion On Fracking Rig

OKLAHOMA CITY - A company that is the third-party defendant in a lawsuit brought by a man who alleges that he suffered chemical injuries from a lithium battery pack that exploded on a hydraulic fracturing rig filed a brief in Oklahoma federal court on Sept. 13, contending that the fracking company's motion for summary judgment should be denied because "at the very least" an issue of fact remains regarding whether the fracking company's design changes to the battery pack were a proximate cause of the explosion at issue (Jacob McGehee, et al. v. Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation, et al. and Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation v. Engineered Power LP, et al., No. 15-145, W.D. Okla.).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Says It's Too Early To Dismiss Energy Firm's Claims Related To Billing

SAN FRANCISCO - Applying the reasoning in a nearly identical lawsuit, a California federal judge on Sept. 8 refused to dismiss an energy provider's claims for violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and California's unfair competition law (UCL) in relation to a gas and electric company's alleged unlawful billing practices (Vista Energy Marketing v. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, et al., No. 16-cv-04019, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145911).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Parties Agree To Move Storage Of Spent Nuclear Fuel To Off-Site Location

SAN DIEGO - Parties in a dispute over a permit that allowed an energy company to store spent nuclear waste at the site of a decommissioned power plant in California on Aug. 25 agreed to resolve the lawsuit in a stipulation in California state court, wherein the owner of the facility agreed to move the spent nuclear fuel for off-site storage (Citizens Oversight Inc., et al. v. California Coastal Commission, et al., No. 37-2015-00037137-CU-WM-CTL, Calif. Super., San Diego Co.).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Federal Judge Grants Motion To Dismiss Securities Suit Against Energy Company

SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Aug. 11 granted a motion to dismiss a securities class action lawsuit filed against a solar energy company and certain of its executive officers after determining that the plaintiffs failed to adequately allege falsity and scienter (In re SolarCity Corp. Securities Litigation, No. 16-4686, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129137).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Wage Class Suit Parties Ordered To Accept Surveys Filed Up To 1 Month Late

CLEVELAND - The parties in a class suit over the misclassification of door-to-door salespeople that ended with a jury finding for the plaintiffs on the issue of liability for unpaid wages must accept surveys regarding the hours the affected employees worked during the overtime pay period that were filed up to a month after the April 4 deadline, an Ohio federal judge ruled Aug. 10 (Davina Hurt, et al. v. Commerce Energy, Inc., et al., No. 12-758, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128850).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Wage Class Suit Parties Ordered To Accept Surveys Filed Up To 1 Month Late

CLEVELAND - The parties in a class suit over the misclassification of door-to-door salespeople that ended with a jury finding for the plaintiffs on the issue of liability for unpaid wages must accept surveys regarding the hours the affected employees worked during the overtime pay period that were filed up to a month after the April 4 deadline, an Ohio federal judge ruled Aug. 10 (Davina Hurt, et al. v. Commerce Energy, Inc., et al., No. 12-758, N.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128850).

Mealey's Bankruptcy - Asbestos Claimants Drop Appeal Due To Failure Of Energy Future's Plan

WILMINGTON, Del. - Four asbestos claimants battling Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) over its handling of asbestos claims in its plan to reorganize presented the Delaware federal court on July 21 with a proposed stipulation and order dismissing the claimants' appeal of the plan confirmation, due to EFH's inability to consummate the plan (Shirley Fenicle, et al. v. Energy Future Holdings Corp., No. 17-229, D. Del.).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Dismisses Federal Claims Related To PACE Programs Against Governments

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - After finding that Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs are considered tax assessments and are not regulated by the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and another federal law, a California federal judge on July 17 granted a motion filed by several government entities and a company to dismiss a case against them, but remanded claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) to state court (In re Hero Loan Litigation, No. 16-02478, No. 16-02491, No. 16-08943, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111771).

Mealey's Insurance - Professional Services Exclusion Bars Coverage For Pipeline Explosion, Panel Says

SAN FRANCISCO - The First District California Court of Appeal on July 11 affirmed a trial court's judgment in favor of an excess insurer after finding that its policy's professional services exclusion bars coverage for underlying claims arising from a deadly pipeline explosion (Energy Insurance Mutual Limited v. Ace American Insurance Co., No. A140656, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Delaware Federal Judge Won't Dismiss Patent Claim On Section 101 Grounds

WILMINGTON, Del. - An effort by a defendant to obtain dismissal of allegations that it infringed a patented invention that - among other things - would purportedly replace human meter readers was unsuccessful July 11, when a Delaware federal judge ruled that the case should proceed (Smart Meter Technologies Inc. v. Duke Energy Corporation, No. 16-208, D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106493).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 4th Circuit: Judge Lacked Jurisdiction Over Coal Jobs Loss Suit

RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 29 ruled that a federal court in West Virginia lacked jurisdiction over a lawsuit brought by coal companies contending that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had failed to undertake a nondiscretionary duty under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to evaluate how the statute was affecting jobs in the industry, finding that a "court is ill-equipped to supervise this continuous, ongoing process" (Murray Energy Corp., et al. v. Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, No. 16-2432, 4th Cir.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Federal, State Agencies Sue Company For Emissions Of Volatile Organic Compounds

DENVER - The U.S. government and the state of Colorado filed a lawsuit in Colorado federal court on June 26, alleging that a power company is in violation the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. 7401, and other statutes with regard to the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (United States of America, et al. v. PDC Energy, Inc., No. 17-1552, D. Colo.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Group: Company's Plan To Store Coal Ash Will Continue Groundwater Contamination

DURHAM, N.C. - An environmental advocacy group on June 20 filed a lawsuit in North Carolina federal court against Duke Energy Progress LLC, alleging that the company's plan to permanently store coal ash and "toxic pollutants" in unlined pits will lead to further contamination of local groundwater (Roanoke River Basin Association v. Duke Energy Progress LLC, No. 17-561, M.D. N.C.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses Insurer, Reinsurer's Negligence Suit For Lack Of Jurisdiction

SCRANTON, Pa. - An insured's presence destroys complete diversity jurisdiction in a negligence lawsuit also involving its subrogated insurer and reinsurer, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled June 20, dismissing the lawsuit because it cannot proceed without the insured (RAD Manufacturing LLC f/k/a RAD Wood Work Co., et al. v. Advanced Fabrication Services Inc. t/d/b/a AFS Energy Systems, No. 16-2138, M.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94575).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - U.K. Firm Proceeds With PCA Arbitration Against India Tax Department

EDINBURGH, Scotland - A United Kingdom energy company on June 19 gave updates on a dispute with the Indian Income Tax Department, stating that an international arbitration over a tax assessment is progressing and that final hearings in the case will be held next year.

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Rejects Mesa Power's Petition To Vacate NAFTA Award For Canada

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on June 15 rejected an energy company's petition to vacate an international arbitral award in which a tribunal found that the Government of Canada did not violate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), finding nothing to show that the tribunal exceed its authority (Mesa Power Group LLC v. Government of Canada, No. 16-1101, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92037).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Constitutionality Of Inter Partes Review To Be Decided By Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari on June 12 in a dispute over the constitutionality of inter partes review (IPR) by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (Oil States Energy Services LLC v. Greene's Energy Group LLC, No. 16-712, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Texas Appeals Panel Affirms Defense Verdict In Negligence Suit

HOUSTON - A Texas appellate panel on May 25 found that a trial court did not err by refusing to submit questions to the jury over negligence and the status of a man on a premises who injured himself while working on electrical lines (Shannon Newman v. CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric LLC, No. 14-16-00007-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 4772).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Solar Energy Firms Ask New York Federal Court To Confirm $143M ICSID Award

NEW YORK - A United Kingdom entity and a Luxembourg company on May 19 filed a petition in a New York federal court, seeking to confirm a $143,302,395 international arbitral award issued in their favor and against the Kingdom of Spain (Eiser Infrastructure Limited, et al. v. Kingdom of Spain, No. 1:17-cv-03808, S.D. N.Y.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - ICSID Registers ECT Arbitration Against Italy Over Production Concession

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on May 19 registered a request by an English exploration entity, commencing arbitration under the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) against the Republic of Italy (Rockhopper Italia S.p.A., Rockhopper Mediterranean Ltd, and Rockhopper Exploration Plc v. Italian Republic, No. ARB/17/14, ICSID).