Brief history of APP in the court system

Throughout it’s history as a Power provider APP have done battle within the legal system many times. From high profile fights against the EPA to the low level attacks on their customers; this should provide easy access to a comprehensive list and brief overview of major court cases these power providers fought in:

  • Appalachian Power Co. v. EPA, 135 F.3d 791
    • Petitioner power companies sought review of an order of respondent, Environmental Protection Agency, which set nitrous oxides (NOx) emission limits for Group 1 and Group 2 boilers under Title IV of the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C.S. § 7401 et seq., and reclassified certain retrofitted cell burners as wall-fired boilers. The court denied one power company’s petition for review in its entirety, upholding the EPA’s nitrous oxides (NOx) emission limits and compliance date, but granted the other power company’s petition, vacating the EPA’s classification of certain retrofitted cell burners as wall-fired boilers as arbitrary and capricious, and remanding to the agency for reconsideration or a more adequate explanation.
  • Nautilus Ins. Co. v. Appalachian Power Co., 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67965
    • This case arises out of a fire that occurred on June 3, 2018, at the workshop for Electro Finishing, Inc., (“Electro”), located in Rural Retreat, Virginia (“the workshop”). At all relevant times, Appalachian provided electricity to the workshop through above-ground electrical cables over which Appalachian had full ownership, custody, and control. Electro, then owned by Timothy Litz, had previously purchased property insurance from Nautilus. On May 17, 2019, Nautilus brought this subrogation action against Appalachian, claiming that Appalachian’s electrical conductor caused the fire. Compl., ECF No. 1. Nautilus’s five-count complaint seeks recovery for negligence, breach of contract, gross negligence, trespass, and nuisance. Id. at 4-10. the court granted Appalachian’s motion to dismiss Nautilus’s claims as a sanction for spoliation of evidence. Because the court will dismiss all claims, the court will DENY AS MOOT Appalachian’s motion to exclude the testimony of John Moore. An appropriate order will be entered.
  • Cochran v. Appalachian Power Co., 162 W. Va. 86
    • The customer entered into a contract with the electric company under which the electric company was to install poles and lines and supply electricity to the customer’s mine. The customer paid a large deposit and was given a receipt that indicated that the deposit was not refundable. Five years late, the electric company advised the customer that payment on his account was overdue and the customer claimed he had actually overpaid. While the dispute was pending, the electric company shut off power to the mine and later sent the customer a refund for overpayment. At trial, only the customer testified as to his damages. On appeal, the court affirmed, finding first that the customer’s claims were not barred by the two-year limitations period on tort actions in W. Va. Code § 55-5-2, because the complaint could be construed as a contract action. The court held that the customer’s testimony as to his damages was sufficient to support the verdict because he estimated the value of his damaged equipment based on its cheapest purchase price. Since the parties’ contract was breached, the court found that the customer was entitled to return of the non-refundable deposit as part of his damages. The court affirmed the judgment for the customer and against the electric company in the customer’s suit for damages that stemmed from the electric company having disconnected his electrical service.
  • Parris v. Appalachian Power Co., 2 Va. App. 219
    • The employee was diagnosed with asbestosis. He filed a claim with the commission for benefits. The commission determined that the employer had acquired a vested right in a prior final adjudication and denied his claim. On appeal, the court affirmed the commission’s orders. The court held that the employee was last exposed to asbestos in his employment on October 22, 1975, and accordingly his claim was governed by the limitations period contained in the former § 65.1-52. The five-year limitation period contained in that statute dictated that the period ran in October 1980. The amended § 65.1-52 did not take effect until July 1, 1983. Thus, the employee could not take advantage of the amendment. The court affirmed the order of the trial court that ruled held that the employee’s claim for benefits due to occupational related asbestosis was barred by the statute of limitation.