Ward Greenberg’s Gas and Electric Utilities group has a long track record of successfully representing gas and electric utilities in commercial and tort matters, including actions arising from natural gas explosions, electrocutions, stray voltage issues, construction accidents, breach of contract claims, and construction contract disputes. Particularly after a catastrophic event, clients rely on our responsive, knowledgeable, and experienced lawyers to accurately evaluate potential liability and shape a successful strategy.
Our deep experience means we can adeptly handle the range of complex litigation issues encountered by gas and electric utilities. Over many years, we have cultivated relationships with some of the nation’s most well-respected experts in the fields of metallurgy and materials science, geotechnical and geological engineering, hydrology, cause and origin analysis, the National Electric Safety Code, state and federal gas distribution standards, and electrical distribution.
- Natural Gas Incidents: We have successfully defended claims for alleged wrongful death, personal injury, and property damage resulting from natural gas explosions at single-family homes, multi-unit apartment complexes, and commercial premises. In both state and federal courts, we have resolved these matters on summary judgment, through motions to preclude experts, and at trial. We are well-versed in the gas safety regulatory regime at the state and federal level, and have worked successfully over the years with law enforcement, investigators, and regulators from the PSC, PHMSA, district attorneys, FBI, and other government agencies.
- Electric Incidents: We have successfully defended electric utilities against claims arising from electrocutions and electrical fires at residences, schools, hotels, and other commercial properties. We also have defended stray voltage cases involving personal injuries and alleged diminution in property value in both rural and urban settings. We know the NESC, NEC, and science of electrical distribution well.
- Construction Site Accidents: We have successfully handled a wide variety of New York Labor Law claims arising out of the accidents during the construction and installation of electrical substations, gas and electrical transmission and distribution facilities, power plant construction, and a variety of other projects.
- Construction Contract Disputes: On behalf of owner utilities, we have prosecuted and defended construction claims including delay claims, claims for extras and cost overruns, claims for defective and non-conforming work, and claims related to equipment and performance warranties. We have achieved successful outcomes litigating construction matters in courts, as well as in AAA arbitrations and mediations.
- Commercial Disputes: Our substantial knowledge of the gas and electric industries and the relevant scientific principles positions us well to handle the breadth of commercial disputes encountered by utilities and energy companies. By way of example, we have prosecuted and defended breach of contract claims related to the sale of turbines, generators, and electrical transformers. We also have handled claims for breach of contract relating to third-party interconnection projects, major transmission upgrades, power purchase agreements, and joint use agreements. In conjunction with some of these matters, we also have assisted clients in preparing for administrative hearings before the Department of Public Service.