COURT: MEAG asks court to halt JEA’s proceedings in Florida - Debtwire

COURT: MEAG asks court to halt JEA’s proceedings in Florida

10 June 2019 - 12:00 am

The Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG) is seeking to stop JEA from taking action in a federal district court in Florida over a power purchase agreement (PPA) associated with the Vogtle nuclear plant expansion project.


MEAG filed an emergency motion to reopen its case in the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, according to documents filed in the United States Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division, on 7 June.


The motion follows the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit’s 3 June denial of MEAG’s appeal for a rehearing after the federal district court in Georgia dismissed MEAG’s case.


The appellate court ruled “without prejudice,” allowing MEAG to attempt to get the Georgia district court to hear the case again.


MEAG and JEA filed lawsuits against each other in September 2018 over the validity of a PPA that forces JEA to pay part of the construction of two nuclear reactors at the Vogtle plant in Georgia and to buy power for 20 years from those units once they are operational.


MEAG and JEA filed their suits in different courts and have since fought for the case to be heard in their respective home venues.


There is risk that MEAG and JEA will have parallel litigation in the two courts, and the Georgia court should hear the case because MEAG filed its lawsuit first, MEAG argued in the emergency motion.


MEAG filed its suit in the federal district court in Georgia hours before JEA filed its case in the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court in Duval CountyFlorida.


MEAG asked the Georgia court to force JEA to respond to the motion in two weeks’ time.


JEA has stated in financial documents and board meetings that it is negotiating a settlement with MEAG but neither party has released more details.


MEAG has also asked the Middle District of Florida to force JEA to produce documents that the utility claims disqualify MEAG’s legal representative, the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, from the case, according to a motion filed by MEAG on 29 May.


JEA claims that the firm previously worked with the utility on matters related to the Vogtle project. JEA has asked for an extension until 26 June to present the documents because of ongoing litigation in both courts.


The case is City of Jacksonville, Florida and JEA v Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, case number 3:18-cv-01174-NJD-JRK in the United States Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division.


by Patrick Ferguson