Antitrust & Intellectual Property

Natural Gas Antitrust Litigation

Result: $1.25 billion settlement
Year: 2003, 2006, 2007

In 2003, the Court approved a landmark of $1.1 billion settlement in class action litigation against El Paso Natural Gas Co. for manipulating the market for natural gas pipeline transmission capacity into California. Lieff Cabraser served as Plaintiffs’ Co-Lead Counsel and Co-Liaison Counsel in the Natural Gas Antitrust Cases I-IV.

In June 2007, the Court granted final approval to a $67.39 million settlement of a series of class action lawsuits brought by California business and residential consumers of natural gas against a group of natural gas suppliers, Reliant Energy Services, Inc., Duke Energy Trading and Marketing LLC, CMS Energy Resources Management Company, and Aquila Merchant Services, Inc.

Plaintiffs charged defendants with manipulating the price of natural gas in California during the California energy crisis of 2000-2001 by a variety of means, including falsely reporting the prices and quantities of natural gas transactions to trade publications, which compiled daily and monthly natural gas price indices; prearranged wash trading; and, in the case of Reliant, “churning” on the Enron Online electronic trading platform, which was facilitated by a secret netting agreement between Reliant and Enron.

The 2007 settlement followed a settlement reach in 2006 for $92 million partial settlement with Coral Energy Resources, L.P.; Dynegy Inc. and affiliates; EnCana Corporation; WD Energy Services, Inc.; and The Williams Companies, Inc. and affiliates.