GREEN BAY, Wis. - An employer's changes to its health insurance plan that require employees to undergo a health risk assessment (HRA) or pay an additional amount per year is permissible because it is voluntary under 42 U.S. Code Section 12112(d)(4)(B), a Wisconsin federal judge ruled Sept. 19; however, the judge further ruled that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may proceed with retaliation claims it is bringing on behalf of a terminated worker who alleges that she was fired after speaking out against the changes (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Orion Energy Systems, Inc., No. 14-1019, E.D. Wis.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127292).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Three asbestos personal injury claimants on Sept. 12 appealed a Delaware federal bankruptcy court's recent confirmation of the first of two plans of reorganization for Chapter 11 debtor Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) to federal court (In re: Energy Future Holdings Corp., et al., No. 14-10979, D. Del. Bkcy.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A Maryland man who claims that the Nest Learning Thermostat (NLT) didn't live up to claims that it would help him save on energy costs failed to satisfy the commonality, typicality, adequacy or predominance requirements, a California federal judge ruled Aug. 15, denying the consumer's motion for class certification (Justin Darisse v. Nest Labs, Inc., No. 14-1363, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107938).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The lead plaintiff in a securities class action lawsuit against a company that sells renewable energy and certain of its executive officers has failed to cure each of the scienter pleading deficiencies in making his claims under federal securities law that resulted in three previous dismissal rulings, a federal judge in California ruled Aug. 9 in dismissing the third amended complaint with prejudice (Tai Jan Bao, et al. v. SolarCity Corp., et al., No. 14-1435, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105179).
OKLAHOMA CITY - A group of Oklahoma residents who are already members of a putative class action against Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (HESI) alleging groundwater contamination on Aug. 9 filed a separate complaint against the company seeking compensation for "complete reckless disregard" that led to the presence of perchlorate in the aquifer that supplies their drinking water (Albin Family Revocable Living Trust, et al. v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc., No. 16-910, W.D. Okla.).
NEW ORLEANS - An expert may testify that a scaffolding should have been erected to provide workers a safe platform to work from as they attempted to catch leaking oil from a pipe, a Louisiana federal judge ruled July 21, finding that he will be in a better position at trial to assess whether the expert in fact reaches improper legal conclusions (Darrel J. Singleton, Jr., et al. v. Fieldwood Energy, LLC, et al., No. 15-5558, E.D. La.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95427).
DETROIT - Enbridge Energy L.P. and a number of its subsidiaries agreed July 19 to spend $110 million for a series of measures to prevent pipeline spills, pay a $62 million civil penalty for Clean Water Act violations, and reimburse the government for $5 million it spent to cleanup contamination from pipeline spills in Marshall, Mich., and Romeoville, Ill., in 2010, according to a recent docket entry in a Michigan federal court (United States of America v. Enbridge Energy L.P., et al., No. 16-cv-914, W.D. Mich.).
DENVER - A trial court erred in finding that no coverage is afforded for environmental contamination cleanup costs because the trial court failed to determine if the insurer was prejudiced by the insured's late notice of the claim, the Colorado Court of Appeals said July 14 (MarkWest Energy Partners L.P., v. Zurich American Insurance Co., No. 15-0770, Colo. App., Div. 1; 2016 Colo. App. LEXIS 956).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 8 reversed a district court's dismissal of claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and other claims in relation to a company's labeling of its energy drinks, finding that certain statements it made could have been misleading (Alec Fisher, et al. v. Monster Beverage Corporation, et al., No. 13-57094, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12608).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 29 reversed a lower federal court's grant of summary judgment in favor of an insurer on its duty to indemnify its engineering firm insured and the firm's employee against five underlying lawsuits arising from a fatal accident at a nuclear-powered energy plant (Hartford Casualty Insurance Co., et al v. DP Engineering L.L.C., et al., No. 15-10443, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 11951).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on June 22 granted a Chinese company's petition to confirm an award that was issued by a Hong Kong tribunal, ordering a British Virgin Islands entity to pay $476,700,190.49 in damages and interest (GE Transportation [Shenyang] Co. Ltd. v. A-Power Energy Generation Systems Ltd., No. 15-6194, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81367).
MADRID - A Canadian oil and gas company announced on June 20 that two entities owned by the Chinese government have commenced arbitration against it in relation to their investment in an energy firm.
SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in California on June 17 granted Kinder Morgan Energy Partners L.P.'s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the state of California and city of San Diego over groundwater contamination under QualComm Stadium after the company agreed to pay $20 million to settle the suit (People of the State of California, et al. v. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners L.P., et al., No.07-cv-1883, S.D. Calif.).
CINCINNATI - An Ohio appellate panel on June 10 reversed a grant of summary judgment for a utility's contractor in a negligence suit, finding that the company had no property interest in the premises and, therefore, could not employ the open-and-obvious doctrine defense (Florence and Edward Eschmann v. RLA Investments, Inc., and Duke Energy Ohio, Inc., et al., No. C-150576, Ohio App., 1st Dist., Hamilton Co.; 2016 Ohio App. LEXIS 2213).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A wind energy company on June 13 filed a petition in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to vacate an international arbitration award in which a tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) dismissed all claims asserted by it against Canada in relation to alleged violations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (Mesa Power Group LLC v. Government of Canada, No. 16-cv-1101, D. D.C.).
HONG KONG - An energy firm on June 9 announced that it has sent two Chinese entities a formal notice of its intent to commence arbitration against them.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A tribunal for the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on June 6 released its award in arbitration commenced by two energy firms against the Republic of Panama, finding that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction over claims related to a hydro-electric power generation concession (Transglobal Green Energy LLC, et al. v. The Republic of Panama, No. ARB/13/28, ICSID).
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on May 27 ruled that a company suing the former operators of a gas station that has allegedly contaminated local groundwater was entitled to reconsideration of its previously dismissed nuisance claim as to injunctive relief only (The Plumbing Supply LLC d/b/a Faucet Works v. Exxon Mobil Oil Corp, et al., and CPD NY Energy Corp. v. Cumberland Farms Inc., et al., No. 14CV3674, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69863).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California federal judge on May 25 found that a claim for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and copyright infringement asserted by a meditation center business and its owners should be dismissed, finding that the UCL claim was preempted by copyright law and that the plaintiffs failed to allege substantial similarity in relation to the copyrighted works (Divine Dharma Meditation Int'l Inc., et al. v. Institute of Latent Energy Studies, No. 16-226, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68890).
WILMINGTON, Del. - Two potential asbestos claimants in the Chapter 11 case of Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) agreed May 23 to stay the briefing in their appeal of the debtor's plan of reorganization pending a decision in Delaware federal court on EFH's request to dismiss the appeal as moot due to the plan becoming null and void (Michael Cunningham, et al. v. Energy Future Holdings Corp., et al., No. 15-1218, D. Del.; Shirley Fenicle, et al. v. Energy Future Holdings Corp., et al., No. 15-1183, D. Del.).
HONG KONG - An energy firm on May 24 announced that it has notified the China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) and CNOOC China Limited (CCL) of its intent to commence formal arbitration proceedings against them in relation to the alleged mismanagement of a gas field.