Justia U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Utilities Law
Georgia State Conference of the NAACP v. City of LaGrange
Plaintiffs filed suit challenging two policies related to the provision of basic utility services from the City on the ground that the policies have a disproportionate impact on black and Hispanic residents. The Eleventh Circuit vacated the district court's dismissal of the complaint for failure to state a claim, holding that section 3604(b) of the Fair Housing Act is unambiguous and reaches certain post-acquisition conduct, including post-acquisition conduct related to the provision of services. The panel held that a service within the meaning of section 3604(b) must be a housing-related service that is directly connected to the sale or rental of a dwelling, and the water, gas, and electricity services at issue here fall within the scope of section 3604(b). Finally, the court rejected the City's argument that it is not a housing provider subject to section 3604(b), and held that section 3604(b) does not limit its applicability in such a manner and the court's case law has never held that only housing providers are subject to liability thereunder. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Georgia State Conference of the NAACP v. City of LaGrange" on Justia Law
Diverse Power, Inc. v. City of LaGrange
The Eleventh Circuit held that the City of LaGrange did not enjoy state-action immunity when it ties its water-utility service to its natural-gas service for customers in unincorporated Troup County, Georgia. In this case, the Georgia legislature could have foreseen that cities would use their water monopoly to increase their share of an unrelated market and that such an anticompetitive move was not the inherent, logical, or ordinary result of the legislative scheme. Therefore, the district court correctly denied the City's motion to dismiss for state-action immunity and the court affirmed the district court's judgment in this interlocutory appeal. View "Diverse Power, Inc. v. City of LaGrange" on Justia Law
Newton v. Duke Energy Florida, LLC
Plaintiffs filed a putative class action claiming that two provisions of the Florida Renewable Technologies and Energy Efficiency Act, which authorized the Nuclear Cost Recovery System (NCRS), were invalid under the Dormant Commerce Clause (DCC). Plaintiffs also claimed that the two provisions of the Act were preempted by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, and the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the DCC claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), because plaintiffs' interests as Florida electric utility customers were well beyond the zone the DCC was meant to protect. The court held that the Atomic Energy Act did not preempt the NCRS, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiffs leave to amend. View "Newton v. Duke Energy Florida, LLC" on Justia Law
Eastern Hydroelectric Corp. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
The Eleventh Circuit denied a petition for review of the Commission's decision to revoke petitioner's license to generate hydroelectricity at the Juliette Dam. The court held that the Commission was authorized to revoke petitioner's license under section 823b of the Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 823b, because petitioner violated a compliance order by never submitting effectiveness protocols or documentation of its consultation with the Resource Agencies and substantial evidence supported the Commission's conclusion that the violation was done knowingly. Furthermore, the record showed that petitioner was given adequate notice and opportunity to be heard and that the Commission took into consideration the nature and seriousness of petitioner's violation and its compliance efforts. The court rejected petitioner's remaining arguments. View "Eastern Hydroelectric Corp. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission" on Justia Law
Caver v. Central Alabama Electric Cooperative
Plaintiff and others filed a putative class action in state court on behalf of members of CAEC, alleging that CAEC wrongfully had refused to pay out “excess revenues” in cash to its members. After removal to federal court, the district court granted CAEC's motion to dismiss. The court affirmed the district court's ruling that when CAEC’s revenues exceed its operating costs and other expenses, CAEC does credit each members’ capital account with the cooperative, and the district court's holding that CAEC’s distribution of excess revenues to its members by making credits to their capital accounts, as opposed to making cash payments, complied with Alabama state law. View "Caver v. Central Alabama Electric Cooperative" on Justia Law
Posted in: Utilities Law
FWEA Utility Council, et al. v. Jackson, et al.
Florida Water Environment Association Utility Council and South Florida Water Management District (appellants) appealed the district court's order approving a consent decree between the EPA and a group of environmentalist organizations (plaintiffs). The consent decree settled a suit by plaintiffs against the EPA that alleged that the agency failed to promulgate timely new water-quality standards for the State of Florida. Appellants claimed that the consent decree was substantively and procedurally unreasonable and that the district court abused its discretion in approving the decree. The court held that because appellants have not demonstrated a live case or controversy that would give the court jurisdiction over their case, the court dismissed their appeal.