Backed by attorneys comprising one of the nation's preeminent energy practices and a world class group of litigators, our energy litigation team is prepared to tackle the broad range of disputes facing energy companies today. We understand the energy industry and your business. Our 25 energy litigation attorneys aggressively pursue the client's interests and have tried cases and argued before both federal and state courts – trial and appellate – as well as before regulatory agencies and arbitration panels. Recognizing the importance of client resources, we quickly develop a strategy with you to devote the right mix of attorney experience and skills that will work closely with you to achieve optimal results. In short, our energy litigation practice involves the full range of litigation, arbitration, mediation and negotiation on behalf of energy companies, with seasoned lawyers who long have been involved in the industry as the turbulent energy commodity markets have grown and evolved.
Our attorneys are the lawyers of choice for many electric cooperatives. We were lead counsel in successfully defending one of the first personal injury lawsuits in the country involving a claim that there is a causal link between electro-magnetic fields (EMF) from power lines and cancer. We regularly represent cooperatives in contract disputes, territorial and service area disputes, tax controversies and other matters.
We have negotiated, arbitrated and litigated on behalf of energy trading companies and utilities in some of the largest bankruptcies affecting energy companies, including those of Enron, Mirant, National Energy & Gas Transmission and The Power Company of America. Our attorneys have represented both creditors and debtors in contract disputes relating to the termination and valuation of swaps and forward contracts, valuation of long-term tolling agreements and the termination of plant construction contracts. We also have litigated issues at the confluence of bankruptcy court and regulatory agency jurisdictions. We currently serve as special energy counsel to energy trading debtors-in-possession, responsible for negotiating and/or litigating with counterparties any disputes related to terminated safe-harbor transactions.
Commodity Contract Disputes
We have a wealth of experience with commercial disputes between energy companies. The team has been involved in litigation over contract disagreements and interpretation (including disputes related to ISDAs, EEI agreements, WSPP agreements, NAESB gas agreements and netting agreements), disputes over collateral and margin, adequate assurances, defaults and terminations of master agreements, contract damages claims, the enforceability of book-out arrangements and valuation of trading contracts.
Energy Construction Litigation
Sutherland attorneys have been extensively involved in energy-related construction problem-solving and litigation for many years. Lawyers in the firm have successfully litigated and arbitrated numerous construction cases throughout the United States in many forums. Our attorneys have been the leaders in developing and utilizing a wide array of alternative dispute resolution procedures when disputes arise. First and foremost, however, we are an experienced and successful group of trial lawyers, well-versed in energy construction disputes.
Liquefied Natural Gas
Attorneys in our firm have extensive experience representing clients in the liquefied natural gas area, including LNG litigation matters. For example, the firm is currently defending a large shipper of LNG against claims that the chemical composition of revaporized LNG causes seals in pipeline couplings to shrink, thereby creating gas leaks.
We also have a number of lawyers devoted to administrative litigation for our energy clients. We represent energy marketing companies, utilities and trade groups before both state and federal regulators, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Our attorneys are involved in litigating rate cases, stranded costs, certificate proceedings, direct gas connections, LNG issues and complaint proceedings before FERC. We have also defended companies and individuals in many of the recent FERC and CFTC investigations arising from energy trading activities. Finally, we have appealed many agency decisions to various U.S. Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States.
We have advised and litigated on behalf of clients involved in complicated commercial, commodity and regulatory disputes relating to:
- Procedures for terminating, liquidating and valuing forward physical and financial positions with insolvent counterparties;
- Power plant construction contracts;
- Permitting for power plants;
- Environmental and local compliance for energy projects;
- Personal injury suits related to EMF claims;
- Territorial disputes for electric cooperatives;
- Franchise fees and occupation taxes for utilities;
- Nuisance complaints by landowners;
- Efforts by government authorities and citizens groups to block utility projects;
- Joint use contracts involving utility poles and facilities;
- Antitrust issues;
- The restructuring of the retail electric markets;
- The pre-emptive effect of federal jurisdiction over energy companies;
- Terminating, liquidating and valuing forward physical and financial trading positions;
- Long-dated tolling agreements;
- Creditworthiness, insolvency and bankruptcy of energy companies;
- CFTC / FERC investigations;
- Direct connections and bypasses by industrial end users and generators to interstate natural gas pipelines;
- The enforceability of one-way termination provisions in master agreements; and
- Whether contracts and transactions qualify as forward contracts and/or swap agreements under the Bankruptcy Code.
In short, our energy litigation and dispute resolution practice involves the full range of litigation, arbitration, mediation and negotiation activities on behalf of energy companies, with the experience of lawyers who have been working with participants in the energy markets for many years.
© 2013 Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP