Distribution Impacts Qualifying Industrial and Commercial Users of Natural Gas in Wisconsin Following a Case that Went Before the U.S. Supreme Court
Milwaukee, Wis. – A significant payout is underway in Wisconsin from partial settlements that were reached with four defendant groups in class action lawsuits against natural gas companies that allegedly conspired to manipulate natural gas prices.
More than $12 million is being distributed to Wisconsin companies, as well as government and public entities, that were qualified industrial and commercial users of natural gas between 2000 and 2002.
In the litigation commenced by Kohner, Mann & Kailas, S.C., seven prominent Wisconsin organizations contend that retail prices for natural gas more than doubled in the early 2000s as a result of a scheme by large natural gas companies. The litigation seeks damages for the high prices paid for natural gas.
Robert L. Gegios, KMK’s lead attorney in the litigation, noted these initial settlements involve only four of the 11 groups of defendants. The plaintiffs are pursuing the remaining defendants aggressively for further recovery, including if necessary, trial in federal court in Madison, Wisconsin.
According to the claims administrator, numerous public entities are receiving substantial settlements. They include the State of Wisconsin Department of Administration – $1,181,082; Milwaukee Public Schools – $348,083; and the Madison Metropolitan School District – $91,040. Even more Wisconsin businesses that qualified as natural gas users are receiving payments as well, sharing in the more than $12 million.
The natural gas company defendants argued that the Wisconsin plaintiffs’ state law claims would interfere with the authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which oversees interstate natural gas markets. Federal authority, the defendants argued, renders state law invalid. But the Federal Court of Appeals sided with the plaintiffs, and in 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court agreed, allowing the lawsuits to proceed.
Kohner, Mann & Kailas, S.C., (KMK) is a leading business transactions, commercial finance and litigation law firm that provides clients with cost-effective legal support for their business operations. Formed in 1937, KMK blends demonstrable business know-how with the legal issues that arise from doing business in the United States and elsewhere. KMK offers an experienced and sophisticated team able to adapt its services to the particular business issues of its clients. Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, KMK has a reputation for achieving results in local, national, and transnational business disputes and transactions. For more information, visit www.kmksc.com