Justia Energy, Oil & Gas Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals
Entergy Nuclear v. Shumlin
Entergy filed suit against Vermont seeking a declaratory judgment that Vermont's Electrical Energy Generating Tax was unconstitutional. On appeal, Entergy challenged the district court's grant of Vermont's motion to dismiss based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction. At issue was whether the Tax Injunction Act, 28 U.S.C. 1341, denied the federal courts jurisdiction to review Entergy's challenges to the Generating Tax. The Act prohibits federal courts from interfering with state taxation schemes so long as the state courts offer an adequate forum to litigate the validity of the tax. The court concluded that the Act applied to the Generating Tax and that Vermont provided a plain, speedy, and efficient mechanism for raising Entergy's objections to the validity of the tax. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Entergy Nuclear v. Shumlin" on Justia Law
In re Amaranth Nat. Gas Commodities Litig.
Plaintiffs filed suit alleging that Amaranth, a hedge fund, had manipulated the price of natural gas futures in violation of the Commodities Exchange Act (CEA), 7 U.S.C. 1 et seq. Plaintiffs also alleged that J.P. Morgan had aided and abetted Amaranth's manipulation of natural gas futures through J.P. Futures' services as Amaranth's futures commission merchant and clearing broker. On appeal, plaintiffs contend that the district court did not apply the correct standard in evaluating the sufficiency of their amended complaint and likewise failed to recognize the amended complaint's well-pleaded allegations that J.P. Futures aided and abetted Amaranth's manipulation within the meaning of Section 22 of the CEA, 7 U.S.C. 25(a). The court concluded that the district court did not err in concluding that plaintiffs' amended complaint failed to state a claim against J.P. Futures. Because the court concluded that this was so even under the pleading standards that plaintiffs argued should apply, the court did not decide whether the district court's application of a more stringent standard was error. View "In re Amaranth Nat. Gas Commodities Litig." on Justia Law
Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee v. Shumlin
Entergy, owner and operator of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station, filed suit against Vermont, raising claims challenging Vermont statutes governing Vermont Yankee (Acts 74, 160, and 189) and other claims related to Vermont's attempt to condition its grant of permission to operate Vermont Yankee on the execution of a power purchase agreement that favored Vermont retail consumers. The court affirmed the district court's grant of declaratory judgment that Act 74 and Act 160 were facially preempted by the Atomic Energy Act, 42 U.S.C. 2011-2281; reversed the district court's determination that Vermont's efforts to condition a new Certificate of Public Good for Vermont Yankee on the execution of a favorable power purchase agreement violated the dormant Commerce Clause; affirmed the district court's determination that Entergy's challenge under the Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 791-828c, was unripe; affirmed the district court's grant of a permanent injunction enjoining defendants from enforcing sections 6522(c)(2) or 6522(c)(4) in title 10 of the Vermont Statutes, as enacted by Act 74, or sections 248(e)(2), 248(m), or 254 in title 30 of the Vermont Statutes, as enacted by Act 160; and vacated the district court's permanent injunction enjoining defendants from conditioning the issuance of a Certificate of Public Good on the execution of a below-wholesale-market power purchase agreement between Entergy and Vermont utilities or otherwise requiring Vermont Yankee to sell power to Vermont utilities at preferential rates. View "Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee v. Shumlin" on Justia Law
In re: MTBE Products Liability Litig.
This case involved long-running multidistrict litigation concerning contamination of groundwater by the organic compound MTBE, which was used as a gasoline additive by Exxon and others. The court concluded that the state law tort verdict against Exxon was not preempted by the federal Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. 7401; the jury's finding that the MTBE levels in Station Six Wells will peak at 10ppb in 2033 was not inconsistent with a conclusion that the City had been injured; the City's suit was ripe because the City demonstrated a present injury and the suit was not barred by the statute of limitations; the jury's verdict finding Exxon liable under state tort law theories was not precluded by the jury's concurrent conclusion that the City had not carried its burden, in the design-defect context, of demonstrating a feasible, cost-reasonable alternative to MTBE available to satisfy the standards of the now-repealed Reformulated Gasoline Program; Exxon's demand for a retrial because of an incident of juror misconduct was unavailing; the jury properly offset the gross damages award by amounts it reasonably attributed to cleanup of contaminants other than MTBE; and the City was not entitled to a jury determination of Exxon's liability for punitive damages. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment in its entirety. View "In re: MTBE Products Liability Litig." on Justia Law
Jimico Enterprises, Inc. v. Lehigh Gas Corp.
Lehigh appealed the district court's award of damages to plaintiffs under the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act (PMPA), 15 U.S.C. 2801-2841. At issue was whether a franchisor could be held under the PMPA for failing to provide notice to a "trial franchisee" prior to termination of its franchise. The court held that the PMPA provided a right of action, both to "full" and "trial" franchisees, when a franchisor failed properly to notify it prior to terminating the franchise. The court also concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding plaintiffs compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorney's fees and costs, and interest. View "Jimico Enterprises, Inc. v. Lehigh Gas Corp." on Justia Law
Chevron Corp. v. Donziger
Following about 30 years of oil extraction in the Ecuadorian Amazon, Ecuadorians brought a variety of claims against the company and obtained judgment in Ecuador. Chevron, a potential judgment-debtor, brought action under New York’s Uniform Foreign Country Money-Judgments Recognition Act, N.Y. C.P.L.R. 5301-5309, which allows judgment-creditors to enforce foreign judgments in New York courts, seeking a global anti-enforcement injunction against the Ecuadorians and their attorney to prohibit attempts to enforce the allegedly-fraudulent judgment entered by the Ecuadorian court. The district court granted the injunction. The Second Circuit reversed, vacating the injunction. The Recognition Act does not grant putative judgment-debtors a cause of action to challenge foreign judgments before enforcement of those judgments is sought. Judgment-debtors can challenge a foreign judgment’s validity under the Act only defensively, in response to an attempted enforcement. View "Chevron Corp. v. Donziger" on Justia Law