Energy Litigation

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Briggs and Morgan litigators work closely with our energy lawyers to provide full service representation to a broad range of energy providers, public utilities and other market participants. Our clients typically have legal needs related to the purchase and sale of bulk power supplies, power marketing, infrastructure financing, siting and routing, environmental compliance, industry restructuring and regulatory affairs.

Our energy litigators offer a wide range of litigation services from commercial and contract disputes to casualty and regulatory matters. We understand the changing energy business and develop litigation strategies to best meet the business and regulatory needs of our clients.

Briggs attorneys regularly represent clients in state and federal courts, in arbitration and mediation proceedings, and before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) and the Environmental Quality Board.

With extensive experience in class action litigation, Briggs and Morgan is positioned to represent energy clients in cases such as Roedler v. Department of Energy, 1999 WL1627346 (D.C. Minn. 1999). We obtained dismissal of a class action suit against our client in a case involving the disposal of nuclear waste. That dismissal was affirmed by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals and the Plaintiffs' Petition for Certiorari was denied.

Just like any business, energy clients can face a variety of business problems. In Northern States Power Company v. FERC, 176 F.3d 1090 (8th Cir. 1999), Briggs and Morgan obtained a favorable Court ruling on behalf of our client in a regulatory dispute arising out of the restructuring of the electric energy market. Our attorneys have also assisted clients in suits arising out of supplier and customer bankruptcy.

A potential catastrophe for energy clients can be fire and explosion. When flood and fire hit Grand Forks, North Dakota, in the late ’90s, Briggs and Morgan was able to apply our experience and proven defense planning to win a favorable defense verdict for our client. We represent clients in a number of suits arising in the energy sector.

Representative Matters

Representative Cases in the Energy Context:

  • Computer Tool & Eng’g, Inc. v. Northern States Power Co., 453 N.W.2d 569 (Minn. Ct. App. 1990) (litigation pertaining to the application of utility tariffs and the binding nature of exculpatory clauses).
  • City of Saint Paul v. Northern States Power Co., 462 N.W.2d 379 (Minn. 1990) (litigation pertaining to open access of natural gas facilities and the impact such open access concepts have on municipalities).
  • Northern States Power Co. v. F.E.R.C., 176 F.3d 1090 (1999) (litigation pertaining to open access of electric transmission facilities and the limits of federal authority over retail utility service).
  • Interstate Power Co., Inc. v. Nobles County Bd of Com’rs, 617 N.W.2d 566 (Minn. 2000) (amicus curiae brief on the issue of a local unit of government’s authority to regulate the placement and taxation of utility infrastructure).
  • In Re Minnesota Power for Approval of 2008 CIP Tracker, Court File C2-00-456, 2000 WL 1847621 (Minn. Ct. App. Dec. 19, 2000) (litigation pertaining to cost  recovery of expenses  incurred in connection with utility conservation program, the filed rate doctrine and limits on retroactive ratemaking).
  • In the Matter of Minnesota Power Transmission Line Known as the Arrowhead Project, Court File C4-01-1022 (Minn Ct. App. Jan. 15, 2002) (successful defense of the grant of permits to construct 345 kV transmission line from Duluth, Minnesota to the Wisconsin border).
  • Alliant Energy v. Nebraska Public Power Dist., 347 F.3d 1046 (CTA 8 2003) (contract dispute over member of voluntary association for responsibility for contract charges imposed by FERC).
  • In the Matter of 1999 All source Request for Proposals, 676 N.W.2d 326 (Minn. Ct. App. 2004) (successful defense of regulatory order pertaining to the purchase of electric energy from Canada).
  • In re Complaint by Shark, Court File A05-21, 2005 WL 3527152 (Minn. Ct. App. Dec. 27, 2005) (defense of regulatory order denying ratepayer complaint).
  • In re MISO Day 2 Costs, Court File A07-0730, 2008 WL 1748236, (Minn. Ct. App. April 15, 2008) (successful defense of regulatory order authorizing utility recovery of costs incurred as a result of MISO Day 2 energy market).
  • Excelsior Energy Inc. v. Minnesota Public Utilities Comm’n et al, 782 N.W.2d 282 (Minn. Ct. App. 2010) (litigation pertaining to statutory preference for innovative energy project and the costs associated with coal gasification technology).
  • In re Great River Energy, Court File A09-1646, 2010 WL 2266138 (Minn. Ct. App. 2010) (successful defense of route permit order pertaining to 345 kV transmission line from Brookings, South Dakota to the Twin Cities).
  • Otter Tail Power Co. v. Leech Lake Band of Ojibwa, 2011 WL 2490820 (D. Minn. June 22, 2011) (litigation pertaining to the rights and obligations of installing infrastructure across the historic boundaries of an Indian Reservation).
  • In re Application of Minnesota Power for Authority to Increase Rates for Elec. Service in Minnesota, 838 N.W.2d 747 (Minn., 2013).
  • Application of Minnegasco, 565 N.W.2d 706, (Minn. 1997).
  • Minnegasco, a Div. of NorAm Energy Corp. v. Minnesota Public Utilities Com'n, 549 N.W.2d 904 (Minn. 1996).
  • Poppler v. Wright Hennepin Co-op Elec. Ass'n, 834 N.W.2d 527 (Minn. Ct. App. 2013) (Amicus curiae in stray voltage case).
  • Siewert v. Northern States Power Co., 793 N.W.2d 272 (Minn. 2011) (stray voltage).
  • Lietz v. Northern States Power Co., 718 N.W.2d 865 (Minn. 2006) (casualty litigation).
  • Northern States Power Co. v. Minnesota Metropolitan Council, 684 N.W.2d 485 Minn., August 05, 2004) (inverse condemnation).
  • In re Northern States Power Co., 676 N.W.2d 326 (Minn. Ct. App. 2004) (dispute over utility integrated resource plan).
  • Advocacy to State Utilities Commission in rulemaking proceeding.