This case arose out of the recent energy crisis. Appellants alleged that Respondents, in violation of Nevada antitrust laws, conspired with the now-defunct Enron Corporation to drive up the price of natural gas in the Southern Nevada and Southeastern California markets. Appellants asserted (1) Respondents engaged in rapid bursts of purchasing natural gas followed by rapid bursts of selling the same gas, which resulted in considerable profits for Respondents and significantly higher prices for natural gas consumers; and (2) Respondents' plan for manipulating the markets worked because of a secret agreement with Enron that left Respondents with greater profits from the sale of gas as well as ensured that Respondents would always have a sufficient supply of natural gas. The district court ultimately dismissed the case, holding that the claims were barred by principles of federal preemption. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellants' claims were barred by federal field preemption. View "State v. Reliant Energy, Inc." on Justia Law
Posted in: Antitrust & Trade Regulation, Constitutional Law, Energy, Oil & Gas Law, Nevada Supreme Court
Confronting a statewide budget crisis, the Nevada Legislature undertook several revenue-adjustment and cost cutting measures in an effort to balance the State's budget. Those measures were codified in Assembly Bill 6 (AB 6). In this appeal, the Supreme Court was asked whether parts of AB 6 violated the Nevada Constitution. The disputed section of the bill applied only to Appellant Clean Water Coalition (CWC), and converted money collected as user fees into a tax. The CWC used moneys it collected from households and businesses to implement the Systems Conveyance and Operations Program (SCOP) which involved the planning, design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of a regional system to convey effluent from existing and future wastewater treatment facilities to its outfall in the Colorado River system. The CWC collected fees from 2002 until 2010. SCOP was tabled, and the funds collected for the wastewater facilities were transferred to the State's General Fund. M Resort and other businesses that had paid the fees sued the State, challenging the conversion of the CWC fees into what they argued was essentially a special tax. "Special taxes" are prohibited by the state constitution. The Supreme Court held that because AB 6 "burdens only the CWC in its efforts to raise revenue for the state, it is an impermissible local and special tax" under the state constitution. The Court found AB 6 unconstitutional.
Posted in: Constitutional Law, Energy, Oil & Gas Law, Government & Administrative Law, Nevada Supreme Court, Tax Law