Plaintiff lawyers in ComEd class action lawsuit point to multiple millions thieved in Madigan bribery scheme
In the wake of Commonwealth Edison’s attempt to get the massive class action lawsuit over its bribery of a powerful Illinois lawmaker dismissed, plaintiffs have filed a brief in federal court asking a judge to deny the utility’s effort to have the case thrown out.
The lawsuit, filed in August 2020 by Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel on behalf of Illinois power customers and ratepayers, alleges a corrupt scheme under which over many years Commonwealth Edison paid bribes to Michael J. Madigan, the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, so that Madigan would ensure passage through the Illinois legislature of bills permitting ComEd to charge dramatically higher electric rates in Illinois dating back to 2011. The multi-year illegal scheme benefitted ComEd, defendant Exelon Corporation, and Madigan; the losers were public trust in government, the people of Illinois, and ComEd’s customers.
The complaint alleges that the scheme was part of a longstanding “pay to play” enterprise headed by Madigan, involving his network of loyalists as well as defendants and their individual employees and representatives. As reported by the Cook County Record, the plaintiffs say ComEd is seeking “an absurd outcome.” In their brief, they argue that the “Defendants believe they have a sweeping get-out-of-jail-free card: the filed-rate doctrine The premise of the utility’s motion is that a utility can bribe the legislature to impose mandatory rate changes and create entirely new corporate subsidies— ripping off energy consumers to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars as a direct and intended result—and that no adjudicator, anywhere, can do anything to hold them accountable to, or compensate, the victims.”
In earlier criminal proceedings, ComEd agreed to pay $200 million and cooperate with federal prosecutors as they investigate the allegations against the company. As the Record notes, plaintiffs in the class action argue that ComEd should be made to repay its allegedly ill-gotten gains to the Illinois customers it allegedly ripped off.
Illinois power customers and ratepayers are represented by Lieff Cabraser and attorneys from Keller Rohrback and Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym.