Submitted by: Susman Godfrey L.L.P
Posted: Jan 07, 2008 – 05:02 PM EST
Jan. 07 /CSRwire/ - HOUSTON, Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Susman Godfrey is one of four law firms selected today by The National Law Journal as recipients of the 2008 NLJ Pro Bono Awards.
In this ambitious case, the firm represented -- to the tune of $2 million in billable time -- the Texas Cities for Clean Air Coalition in its successful efforts to block 10 new coal-burning power plants that would contribute to global climate change.
Each year The National Law Journal singles out a few law firms that have done the most to make sure that people's legal rights do not depend upon their ability to pay. In this case, the legal rights belonged to cities and other entities that were opposed to the new power plants. They could not afford a top-line law firm to oppose the plants.
Late in 2006, TXU Corporation (now Energy Future Holdings) filed permit applications for the new coal-fired plants. At the same time, an executive order from the governor shortened the approval process from 18 months to just six.
Texas cities went on the offensive. In a move that attracted national and international attention, they formed the TCCAC and asked Susman Godfrey to represent them on a pro bono basis. The TCCAC includes Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, Waco, El Paso, Plano, Arlington, Irving and 28 other local governments across Texas.
The three-week hearing was set to begin on Feb. 21, 2007. The lawyers had two months in which to gather and digest data, conduct depositions, hire experts, submit written testimony and prepare witnesses. On the day that the hearing was to start, a state judge ruled against the governor's authority to accelerate permit reviews. The hearing was postponed four months.
Before the hearing could start, TXU announced a buyout by two private equity firms. It also announced that it would withdraw eight of the coal-plant applications. "We were disappointed not to try our case," said Stephen Susman, "but happy for the win on behalf of our pro bono clients." The TCCAC believes that Susman Godfrey's strong case pressured the company to take these actions.
"The aggressive, relentless and comprehensive legal work that was done on this case in record time caused TXU to rethink its environmentally unfriendly plan," said TCACC Chair Laura Miller, Mayor of Dallas. "What this team did will be remembered by the utility industry for a long time to come. People in this country will no longer accept the construction of dirty, old-technology, coal-fired power plants. Not even in Texas."
Six attorneys from Susman Godfrey worked on the pro bono case: Steve Susman, Eric Mayer, Terry Oxford, John Turner, Ophelia Camina, and Michael Diehl
About Susman Godfrey L.L.P
Susman Godfrey L.L.P., a law firm with more than 80 lawyers, was recently named one of the top litigation boutiques in the country by The American Lawyer. The firm represents plaintiffs and defendants in a broad range of commercial litigation matters, including antitrust, patent and intellectual property, securities and corporate governance litigation, energy, commercial and products liability litigation, bankruptcy and financial restructuring, accounting malpractice, arbitration, climate change litigation, and foreign and international litigation matters. The firm has offices in Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York. For additional information, visit www.susmangodfrey.com.