Energy

From guiding Southern California Edison through the 2000-2001 energy crisis to acting as lead counsel in significant litigation stemming from the BP oil spill, Munger, Tolles & Olson is a trusted counselor to regulated and deregulated energy companies throughout the U.S.

We also represent major oil companies and the largest Alaska native corporation, Cook Inlet Region Inc., a congressionally established Native American-owned corporation based in Anchorage, Alaska.

Our recent experience includes representing:

  • Transocean and certain of its subsidiaries, which owned and operated the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, in litigation arising from the April 20, 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. More than 20 Munger Tolles attorneys represent Transocean in multi-district litigation and other civil proceedings and ongoing criminal investigations. There are classes comprising more than 100,000 individuals and businesses claiming economic loss from the spill and seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as claims for contribution and indemnity among the various defendants.
  • Cook Inlet Region, a congressionally established Native American-owned corporation based in Anchorage, in a series of lawsuits filed in federal court in Alaska and Washington, D.C., involving oil and gas royalty rights.
  • Tesoro Refining and Marketing in its appeal against the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to change its power distributor. In a case of first impression, a state appellate court sided with our client finding that a company whose property straddles two cities may purchase all of its electricity from the utility it designates.
  • Occidental Petroleum in:
    • obtaining dismissals of federal securities fraud class actions and shareholder derivative suits.
    • a dispute with Chevron, garnering an across the board win for Occidental and a full award of the client’s attorneys’ fees.
    • a business arbitration involving a joint venture for operation of a California power plant.
  • A leading developer and manufacturer of solar energy technology, in its defense against allegations of patent infringement related to the manufacture of solar cells and its modules.
  • Shell Oil in:
    • defeating a class action brought by Mississippi homeowners who claimed that Hurricane Katrina and the damage it caused, resulted from global warming partly caused by oil companies.
    • a series of actions relating to the escape of a gasoline additive, MTBE, into the environment surrounding gas stations.
    • criminal and civil cases based on a release of gasoline from a pipeline in the state of Washington that was successfully resolved through settlement.
    • in collecting more than $75 million in losses, including for business interruption, arising from a refinery fire.

In addition, Munger Tolles represents Edison International and a number of its regulated and unregulated subsidiaries, including Southern California Edison Co. (SCE), the region’s primary electricity provider to approximately 14 million people.

The firm has represented SCE for many years on important regulatory matters. Most recently, Munger Tolles represented SCE before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in a proceeding seeking recovery of uninsured costs of third-party claims resulting from wildfires, among many other matters.

Munger Tolles also represented SCE in the following major litigation matters:

  • Challenging the CPUC’s refusal to permit SCE to recover wholesale power costs incurred during the California energy crisis. The case was resolved through a historic settlement with the CPUC that permitted SCE to recover over $3.3 billion and thereby avoid bankruptcy.
  • An arbitration, in which real estate developer RHC Communities LLC (RHC) claimed fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing arising out of 24 contracts for 39 potential development sites. RHC claimed $185 million in compensatory damages, plus punitive damages. After a four-week arbitration, the arbitrator denied all of RHC’s claims and awarded attorneys’ fees and costs to Edison.
  • A putative class action alleging a pattern and practice of racial discrimination, which was dismissed.
  • An arbitration with San Diego Gas & Electric Co., relating to the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station. SCE prevailed in full.
  • National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) proceedings involving issues of appropriate bargaining units in the public utility industry.

Munger Tolles has represented SCE in the following transactional and bankruptcy matters:

  • Negotiating various agreements to purchase electricity from third-party suppliers, including electricity from renewable energy sources.
  • In connection with the proposed sale of its interest in the Four Corners Generating Station located near Fruitland, N.M.
  • In the Lehman bankruptcy cases, with respect to the resolution of derivative contract claims and representing SCE in the Calpine bankruptcy cases, where SCE successfully prevented Calpine from terminating below-market power purchase agreements, which saved the utility and its customers millions of dollars.

We have also represented Edison Mission Energy in connection with its sale of international assets.

Contact:
Jay M. Fujitani (213) 683-9122
Henry Weissmann (213) 683-9150