Our litigators resolve commercial and environmental disputes across industries, including in renewables, electric power, pipeline, biofuels and natural resource sectors.
What We Do
Fredrikson & Byron assists clients across energy and natural resource industries. Our attorneys practice in the renewable energy, utility, transmission and pipeline, advanced biofuels, and oil and gas sectors.
Our team has substantial experience helping our clients manage the complex regulatory environment to permit and build new energy generation, transmission lines and pipelines. We assist with all development, financing, joint venture, acquisition and divestiture needs. Our team regularly assists with real estate matters, permitting, commercial and construction contracts, and financing. We also represent our clients before agencies, courts, and alternative dispute resolution resolving disputes related to these matters.
We have extensive experience in state and federal courts, as well as arbitration. For example, we represent clients in administrative appeals, real estate litigation, environmental and regulatory disputes, environmental appeals, right-of-way disputes and construction litigation, including:
- MEPA/NEPA litigation
- MERA litigation
- Enforcement actions brought by federal and state agencies
- Cost Recovery
Fredrikson & Byron represents energy clients in commercial litigation, environmental litigation and appeals in state and federal courts. Our litigation experience includes:
Energy Related Commercial Litigation
- Represented a prominent wind energy developer in a complex dispute against a construction contractor relating to the construction of a 75-turbine wind farm in North Dakota. The dispute involved claims and counter-claims in the tens of millions of dollars. Lead trial counsel in the confidential two-week arbitration of this dispute.
- Represented the purchaser of two community solar gardens (both in excess of 300 kW) in a dispute against the developer of the solar garden projects in Minnesota. This matter involved claims that the purchased solar gardens were not as promised by the seller and underperformed production expectations. Following significant litigation, achieved a favorable resolution concerning the projects through mediation.
- Defending a natural gas pipeline company against a class action lawsuit filed by landowners along the pipeline alleging crop yield losses associated with the facility.
- Representing a solar energy solutions provider that served as general contractor for the construction of two solar projects in Illinois in a multi-million dollar dispute against its installation subcontractor (and the subcontractor’s construction “factoring” company) due to defects and delays in the installation of the gardens.
- Defending a prominent solar energy company against a lawsuit filed by the former owner of a solar project in Minnesota alleging that the former owner is entitled to an Interconnection Fee refund that the project company received from the utility.
- Obtained default judgment and a favorable resolution on claim by the owner of a wind farm in Minnesota against the entity providing operation, maintenance, and repair services relating to the failure to achieve guaranteed energy production under an availability warranty.
- Represented a leading international turbine manufacturer in a dispute against the owner of multiple wind farm sites relating to the installation of multiple large turbines, resulting in a favorable negotiated resolution.
- Achieved complete dismissal of all claims filed against a Fortune 100 company in an environmental contamination case alleging violation of the Minnesota Environmental Response and Liability Act, trespass, nuisance, negligence, and willful and wanton conduct. The Minnesota Court of Appeals dismissed the Plaintiffs’ appeal.
- Represented a large landfill owner in a mass action alleging that fly ash from a nearby electric power plant contaminated the plaintiffs’ groundwater. Mediated a very favorable resolution with more than 80 named plaintiffs, after taking the lead on deposing all of the named plaintiffs.
- Obtained dismissal with prejudice on behalf of a leading international engineering firm in a putative class action filed in Illinois by a group of business and individual property owners complaining about the cost of electricity and alleging millions of dollars in damages. Plaintiffs agreed to waive any appellate rights.
- In the Matters of the Application of AWA Goodhue Wind, LLC for a Certificate of Need and Site Permit for a 78 MW Wind Project and Associated Facilities in Goodhue County, (Minn. Ct. App. A11-2229 June 25, 2012) Represented wind farm developer in appeal brought by local unit of government and landowner group challenging MPUC decision to grant site permit without more stringent county setback standards. Agency decision affirmed in all respects.
- Associate of Freeborn County Landowners v. Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, 62-CV-20-3674, Ramsey County District Court, (December 7, 2020) Represented wind farm project owner in successful motion to dismiss MERA lawsuit filed challenging MPUC permitting for wind project.
- Represented several oil and gas companies in a criminal misdemeanor case involving the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, resulting in dismissal of all charges.
- The “Powerline” cases: 1973-82; fifty lawsuits and twelve Supreme Court cases in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Washington, D.C., involving the construction of an 1,100 MW power plant in North Dakota, a 435 mile-long ±400 kV direct current HVTL, two 345 kV HVTLs, and associated facilities.
Energy Appellate Matters
- Represented pipeline company in appeal challenging Minnesota Pollution Control Agency decision to granting individual 401 Water Quality Certification for 340-mile replacement pipeline. Agency decision affirmed.
- Represented pipeline company in appeal brought by multiple groups challenging MPUC decision granting a certificate of need and route permit for 340-mile replacement pipeline. Agency decision affirmed.
- In the Matter of Freeborn Wind Energy LLC’s Application for a Large Wind Energy Conversion System Site Permit for the 84 MW Freeborn Wind Farm in Freeborn County, (Minn. Ct. App. A19-1195, A20-0947, April 19, 2021) Represented wind farm project owner in appeal brought by landowner group challenging MPUC decision to amend site permit, deny contested case hearing, and deny motion for separate environmental review under Minnesota Environmental Policy Act. Agency decision affirmed in all respects.
- In the Matters of the Application of AWA Goodhue Wind, LLC for a Certificate of Need and Site Permit for a 78 MW Wind Project and Associated Facilities in Goodhue County, (Minn. Ct. App. A11-2229, June 25, 2012) Represented wind farm developer in appeal brought by local unit of government and landowner group challenging MPUC decision to grant site permit without more stringent county setback standards. Agency decision affirmed in all respects.
- In re Xcel Energy’s Application for Route Permit for CapX 2020 Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse High Voltage Transmission Line, A12-1632, A12-1607, 2013 WL 2460343 (Minn. Ct. App., June 10, 2013) (affirming Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s grant of a Route Permit for 345 kV transmission line).
- City of Oxbow v. North Dakota Public Serv. Comm’n and Northern States Power Co., a Minnesota Corporation, File No. 09-2012-CV-03147 (Cass Cnty. Dist. Ct. Order, December 21, 2012) (dismissing appeal of Certificate of Corridor Compatibility and Route Permit for 345 kV line by all but one appellant based on lack of standing).
- In re Route Permit for Constr. of a Substation & a High Voltage Transmission Line in Dakota Cnty, A05-661, A05-662, 2006 WL 618903 (Minn. Ct. App., March 14, 2006) (affirming Environmental Quality Board’s grant of Route Permit for 115 kV transmission line).
Other Representative Appellate Matters
- Hempel v. Creek House Trust, 743 N.W.2d 305 (Minn. Ct. App. 2007); No. A08-1288, 2009 WL 1919612 (Minn. Ct. App., July 7, 2009) (affirming denial of claim of right of first refusal based on expiration of statute of limitations).
- Serier v. Central St. Croix Rod and Gun Club, Inc., 2009 WI App 128, 321 Wis. 2d 241, 773 N.W.2d 226 (Table), No. 2008AP2550 2009 WL 2151820 (Wis. Ct. App., July 21, 2009) (remanding for entry of permanent injunction based on settlement of trespass claims).
- Airports Comm’n v. Brandon Square III, A06-661, 2007 WL 1322320 (Minn. Ct. App., May 8, 2007) (affirming district court’s finding that fee taking for noise mitigation was reasonably necessary).
- Berne Area Alliance for Quality Living v. Dodge Cnty. Bd. Of Comm’rs, A05-1780, A05-1672, 2006 WL 2405095 (Minn. Ct. App., August 22, 2006 (affirming county’s grant of CUP for hog confinement facility).
- Citizens for a Safe Grant v. Lone Oak Sportsman’s Club, Inc., 642 N.W.2d 796 (Minn. Ct. App. 2001) (affirming district court’s grand of a permanent injunction of gun club based on nuisance, trespass and violation of the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act).
We represent energy clients in appeals from administrative cases, real estate or construction litigation, utility right-of-way disputes, commercial and contractual disputes, and environmental litigation:
- Renewable energy developers
- Transmission and pipeline companies
- Ethanol and biofuels producers
- Financial institutions, banks, and private equity companies
- Domestic and international oil and gas exploration companies
- Manufacturers, service, and construction companies that operate within energy sectors