Practice/Industry Group Overview
The financing, planning and construction of any major infrastructure project is always highly scrutinized, multistaged and multifaceted. When a project's aim is to create a new facility to generate power, the scrutiny, complexity and potential for challenges increase exponentially.
Whether in the early planning stages of a new energy plant or overseeing the construction of a facility that is beginning to take shape, having informed, savvy and experienced legal counsel is vital. Distributed and on-site cogeneration installations are also subject to a host of requirements that are best handled with the assistance of highly experienced counsel.
Duane Morris lawyers understand that undertaking projects large or small requires big-picture thinking partnered with dexterous handling and execution of finely drawn details. In working with clients regarding issues involving nuclear power, oil, gas, coal, biomass, wind, solar, or water, our lawyers bring skills from a broad range of disciplines to advise our clients throughout the many stages of energy facility construction projects. With a strong technological foundation, our firm can call upon dozens of attorneys with engineering degrees, including experienced nuclear engineers, and others who have worked directly in power plants in a variety of technical, supervisory and managerial roles.
Our lawyers advise clients on all aspects of the legal and business issues surrounding electricity generation, distribution, policy, regulation, sale and consumption. Our experience includes work for producers, regulatory agencies, independent system operators and publicly owned utility companies. We represent electric utilities and their operating subsidiaries in regulatory proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Federal Court of Appeals.
But creating energy facilities requires much more than navigating through regulators, courts and government entities on the federal, state and local levels. Duane Morris attorneys can support clients from the early planning stages (including community relations efforts and economic development initiatives to reach out to environmentalists and special interests) through labor acquisition and project management (dealing with architects, engineers, contractors, venders, suppliers, insurers and others) through operational issues (including counsel on emergency plans, quality/whistleblower issues, security and waste disposal).
Our lawyers have represented parties in connection with the financing of a variety of public power projects. Our experience includes some of the largest municipal power transactions in the United States as well as billion-dollar financings of energy facilities around the world. We have provided tax advice and handled bond issues for utilities in connection with capital-raising initiatives.
Duane Morris has a national Construction Group with extensive nuclear and fossil power experience. We have a strong local and national presence, with construction lawyers located in many of our offices around the United States. Accompanying our extensive geographic coverage, we provide a full range of legal services, including contracting with public and private entities, bid protests and award disputes, contract negotiating and drafting, creation of and advising with respect to public/private partnerships, complex contract claims and surety litigation, claims preparation and negotiation, contract defaults and terminations, alternative dispute resolution, dispute resolution boards, partnering, environmental risk management, surety bond and insurance issues, contractor licensing matters, and property damage claims. We have lawyers experienced with issues surrounding Construction and Operating Licenses (COL) and Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contracts. Our attorneys have handled all of the issues that traditionally arise, whether they involve payment disputes, insurance coverage, allegations of defective design or construction, changed or unforeseen conditions, delays, disruptions, loss of productivity or similar claims.
Duane Morris' employment lawyers offer practical counseling designed to prevent potentially disruptive labor and employment disputes and have experience with the special labor issues involving construction projects. We handle a wide variety of employment-related litigation and the full range of management labor relations matters. Our lawyers aggressively promote client interests before state and federal courts and in mediation and arbitration proceedings, as well as before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Labor, the federal Wage and Hour Division, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, and other state and federal agencies. On the labor relations side, our lawyers regularly defend employers against unfair labor practice charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board and represent clients in the collective bargaining process as well as in labor arbitration proceedings. We also have represented employers in defense of numerous whistleblower cases in the nuclear arena.
Our Intellectual Property team includes highly trained attorneys with multiple technical degrees and jury trial experience as well as former patent examiners and patent agents, former corporate patent counsel and professors of IP law. Our lawyers have experience with patent filings involving a wide variety of energy-related technologies, including nuclear reactor design and inventions related to both boiling water and pressurized water reactors. In addition to counsel in the U.S., we also coordinate with our international networks of law firms to secure and maintain patent protection throughout the world. When our IP attorneys enter a courtroom, they are adept at explaining complex technical issues in a straightforward manner and presenting our client's story to the judge and jurors in the most compelling way possible.
In addition, Duane Morris has national practice groups that can be called upon to represent clients with their needs regarding corporate, securities, and mergers and acquisitions issues, litigation and arbitration, real estate, environmental issues, international trade, tax, and business reorganization and financial restructuring.
Duane Morris lawyers' experience ranges from the boardroom to the control room, with our lawyers' being involved in legal issues regarding the construction and operation of many energy facilities, including:
- Avon Lake Generating Station
- Cheswick Generating Station
- Diablo Canyon Power Plant
- Dresden (Ohio) Energy Facility
- Hope Creek Generating Station
- Healy Clean Coal Plant
- Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory
- Lake Tyee Hydroelectric Facility
- Midland Nuclear Power Plant
- Modifications and Addition Reactor Facility
- Nine Mile Point (II) Nuclear Station
- Palisades Nuclear Power Plant
- Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station
- Perry Nuclear Power Plant
- Salem I & II Nuclear Power Plants
- Sunoco Marcus Hook Refinery
- Sunoco Philadelphia Refinery
- Trojan Nuclear Power Plant
- Warm Springs Dam
In addition to experience in plants and with utilities, Duane Morris attorneys have experience gained from serving as members of governmental regulatory agencies. One of the leaders of our Energy Practice Group helped establish the FERC Office of Enforcement and was its first director. Duane Morris was also closely involved in the creation of the first Regional Transmission Organization approved by FERC and has served as its counsel in a multitude of issues before FERC and the appellate courts. We also assist federal and state regulators and agencies in the formation and implementation of regulations and policymaking.
Avon Lake Generating Station, Cheswick Generating Station, Diablo Canyon Power Plant, Dresden (Ohio) Energy Facility, Hope Creek Generating Station, Healy Clean Coal Plant, Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, Lake Tyee Hydroelectric Facility, Midland Nuclear Power Plant, Modifications and Addition Reactor Facility, Nine Mile Point (II) Nuclear Station, Palisades Nuclear Power Plant, Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Perry Nuclear Power Plant, Salem I & II Nuclear Power Plants, Seabrook Nuclear Reactor, Shoreham Nuclear Power Station, Sunoco Marcus Hook Refinery, Sunoco Philadelphia Refinery, Trojan Nuclear Power Plant, Warm Springs Dam, Vogtle Electric Generating Plant