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When No Higher Court Remains

On April 20, 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded at a cost of eleven lives. What followed was the largest accidental marine oil spill in history.  In the aftermath, BP looked for a solution, ostensibly to cap its exposure and address a swirling PR disaster. BP began to actively negotiate a settlement.

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Keogh Cox Maintains Its Victory at the U.S. Supreme Court

Keogh Cox obtained dismissal of the suit asserted against the Sabine River Authority of Louisiana and Entergy by numerous plaintiff landowners alleging flood damages.  Plaintiffs alleged their state law negligence and constitutional claims were preserved under Section 10(c) of the Federal Power Act [16 U.S.C. § 803], which provides that the licensee is liable for “all damages occasioned by the … operation of the project works.” Because the Toledo Bend Dam was not designed or licensed as a flood control dam, Keogh Cox argued on behalf of its clients that this provision does not permit claims based on conduct not required under the FERC license. To do so, Keogh Cox argued, amounts to a collateral attack of the FERC license and wrests operational control of the licensed project away from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [FERC] and places it in the hands of a trial judge.

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Keogh Cox’s Win in Toledo Bend Litigation Could Have National Impact in Flood Hazard Litigation

In a decision released October 9, 2013, the U.S. Fifth Circuit upheld the grant of the defendants’ Motion to Dismiss by concluding that the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) preempts property damage claims based in Louisiana state tort law where the alleged damage is the result of operations that comply with the FERC-issued license. Simmons v. Sabine River Authority, No. 12-30494, – F.3d – , (5th Cir. 10/09/2013).

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