Civil Procedure Energy & Utilities

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Discovery Orders May Threaten Traditional Notions of Trade Secret Protection

Historically, confidential and proprietary information, such as the formulas for Coca-Cola and Pepsi, is trade secret information that will not be made available to the public during litigation. While Coke and Pepsi are...more

EPA Is Not an Expert in Determining Electric System Reliability

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals just reversed and remanded EPA’s rule allowing backup generators to operate for up to 100 hours per year as necessary for demand response. It’s an important decision that could have lessons...more

Colorado Supreme Court Rejects Orders Requiring Plaintiffs to Present Early Evidence Supporting Their Toxic Tort Claims

In an April 20, 2015, decision that was highly anticipated by the energy industry, the Colorado Supreme Court rejected a procedural device called a “Lone Pine” order that requires plaintiffs to make a threshold evidentiary...more

Supreme Court Finds No Pre-emption in Natural Gas Act Case

The U.S. Supreme Court recently held in ONEOK Inc. v. Learjet, Inc., that the Natural Gas Act (NGA) does not pre-empt state-law antitrust suits over manipulation of natural gas indices. The court’s decision has important...more

CEQA Judicial Outcomes: Fifteen Years of Reported California Appellate and Supreme Court Decisions

This report analyzes all published opinions from 1997 through 2012 litigated to the California Court of Appeal or the California Supreme Court concerning the analytical validity of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) or...more

D.C. Circuit Upholds FERC Approval of Maryland Natural Gas Facility

On April 24, the D.C. Circuit issued its opinion in Myersville Citizens for a Rural Community v. FERC, upholding the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC” or the “Commission”) approval of Dominion Transmission’s...more

Supreme Court’s Holding in Oneok v. Learjet Could Lead to New Risks for Market Participants

On April 21, 2015, the Supreme Court decided Oneok v. Learjet, holding that “Respondents’ state-law antitrust claims are not within the field of matters pre-empted by the Natural Gas Act” even though the claimed violations...more

Saskatchewan Court of Appeal: No Surface Activity Means No Duty to Consult First Nations

In its recent decision in Buffalo River Dene Nation v. Saskatchewan (Energy and Resources), the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan held that the government was not required to consult the Buffalo River Dene Nation (BRDN) before...more

Federal Order Addresses California Restrictions on When Wireless Providers Can Produce Documents Responsive to Subpoenas

A recent order from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois affirms that California Public Utilities Code § 2891 applies to wireless telecommunications providers. The argument in that case focused on the...more

Supreme Court Rejects Pre-Emption Claim in State Antitrust Action

On April 21, 2015, the Supreme Court issued a divided opinion declining to find federal pre-emption by the Natural Gas Act (NGA) of certain state antitrust claims. In Oneok, Inc. v. Learjet, Inc., a group of manufacturers,...more

It’s All About the Process: Lessons from Delaware Court on MLP’s Conflicts Committee Approval

On April 20, 2015, the Delaware Court of Chancery issued a post-trial opinion in the case In Re: El Paso Pipeline Partners L.P. (C.A. No. 7141-VCL), finding El Paso Pipeline GP Company LLC, the general partner (GP) of El Paso...more

Operator Granted Summary Judgment Against Producer for Disputed Invoice Amounts

A gas facility operator was recently awarded summary judgment for its unpaid invoices, even though the non-paying producer disputed the amounts owing and claimed various set-offs. In SemCAMS ULC v Blaze Energy Ltd, 2015 ABQB...more

Lone Pine Loss: Supreme Court of Colorado Says State Rules Don’t Allow Use of Lone Pine Orders in Natural Gas Drilling Case

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of Colorado issued its long-awaited decision in Antero Resources Corp. v. Strudley and held that the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure do not allow a trial court to issue a modified case...more

ONEOK, Inc. v. Learjet, Inc.: The Supreme Court Holds that Natural Gas Jurisdictional Sellers are Subject to State Antitrust...

On April 21, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in ONEOK Inc. v. Learjet, Inc. addressing the extent to which the Natural Gas Act (“NGA”) preempts state antitrust claims brought against...more

Opponents of EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan Face Tough Questions From the Court

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral argument on the first legal challenges to EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” on April 16, 2015. The plan is a proposed rule under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air...more

Protection of Confidential Commercial Information Affirmed in Freedom of Information Decision

On February 19, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) denied leave to appeal from the judgment of the Alberta Court of Appeal (Court) in Imperial Oil Limited v. Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner). ...more

SCOTUS Holds Natural Gas Act Does Not Preempt State Law Antitrust Claims

In Oneok, Inc. v. Learjet, Inc., Case No. 13-271 (Apr. 21, 2015), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Natural Gas Act did not preempt retail customers’ state law antitrust claims against interstate gas pipeline operators for...more

Update on Two Recent California Eminent Domain Cases

I wanted to provide a quick update on two recent cases from the California Court of Appeal. The first, Golden State Water Company v. Casitas Municipal Water District (April 14, 2015), involves what appears to be an...more

Supreme Court Decides Oneok, Inc. v. Learjet, Inc.

On April 21, 2015, the United States Supreme Court decided Oneok, Inc. v. Learjet, Inc., No. 13-271, holding that state-law antitrust suits challenging retail rates for direct sales of natural gas are not field pre-empted by...more

Supreme Court Opens Door to Increased Role for State Courts and State Regulators in the Energy Sector

The Supreme Court today allowed the states a greater role in regulating the energy sector. In ONEOK, the Court held that states can regulate activities that affect both wholesale and retail transactions to the extent that the...more

Recent Court of Appeals Decision Guts Force Majeure Clauses in Most Oil and Gas Leases

On March 31, 2015, the New York State Court of Appeals issued an opinion in the case of Walter R. Beardslee, et al. v. Inflection Energy, LLC, et al., interpreting the applicability of force majeure clauses to extend the...more

Mello-Roos Act Can Lawfully Finance Eminent Domain Actions

California Appellate Court Affirms Public Water District's Action to Buy Private Water Company - The Mello-Roos Act can be used to finance acquisitions by eminent domain, the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed in a...more

MassDEP Provided Substantial Discretion to Interpret Legislative Mandate in Global Warming Solutions Act

Just how much discretion will the courts give to the MassDEP to interpret legislative intent when it implements legislative directives such as a requirement to develop rules under the Global Warming Solutions Act? The...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - April 2015 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Army Corps jurisdictional determinations subject to pre-permit judicial review, Eighth Circuit says - Allen Matkins - Apr 13: EPA and Army Corps of Engineers imposition of federal...more

Mello-Roos May Be Used to Fund Condemnation Action of Private Utility Provider

Those of us living in newer neighborhoods are familiar with Mello-Roos – it shows up on our annual tax bills as a way to pay off bonds issued to finance various public improvements, such as schools, streets, and parks that...more

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