An energy company serving nearly 4 million customers secured a highly favorable verdict in a four-week jury trial. The energy company is the majority owner and operator of a supercritical coal-fired power plant and is responsible for its operations and maintenance. After the local utility commission approved the plant’s energy resource plan retiring the plant early to reduce greenhouse gases, a co-owner of the plant filed suit seeking approximately $450 million in damages and alleging that the energy company breached its contractual duties to run the plant prudently and keep it running.
Faegre Drinker represented the energy company and argued at trial that the co-owner’s claims of imprudent operations and maintenance was really a pretext in an attempt to recoup its investment in coal after seeing the regulatory winds changing. The jury rejected the co-owner’s claim that the energy company was to blame for the retirement of the plant, awarded $0 in diminished-value damages, rejected its claim for a forced buyout, and found for our client on four of the six outages, awarding only $26.45 million.
The cross-office Faegre Drinker trial team was led by litigation partners Peter Magnuson, Trip DeMuth, and Jim Hartnett, with critical support from associates Hannah Leiendecker and Megan Farooqui. The law team was led by Aaron Van Oort, with support from Teresa Akkara. The team also included Matthew Clark, Josh Peterson, Jack Leon, Machen Picard Bihrle, Robert Campbell, Chris Jefferies, Becca Smith, Josiah Young, Andy Taylor, Pamela Hollen, Kathryn Miller, David Koontz and Mike Jones.