Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dream Team? Freking and Chesley, Together At Last

Two of the most prominent members of Cincinnati's plaintiffs' bar, Randy Freking (of Freking and Betz) and Stan Chesley (of Waite, Schneider, Bayless and Chesley) have teamed up to take on the ultimate Goliath: Duke Energy. They've filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Ohio energy consumers, alleging that Duke has been offering rebates of recently-approved rate hikes to large consumers (so that those consumers wouldn't oppose those hikes, which are subject to approval by the Public Utilities Commission), and that those rebates have, of course, been subsidized by every other energy consumer (in other words, you and me).

It appears that that the allegations are to be supported by John Deeds. Deeds claims he was fired last year when he raised questions about Duke's payouts to corporate customers; he has filed a whistleblower action which is still pending (he's represented by Freking in that case).

From the complaint, it appears that there are at least eight attorneys who will represent that plaintiff class (assuming U.S. District Judge Weber certifies a class).

But if you're going to take on an energy company, I suppose you have to hope you've got an Erin Brokovich somewhere on your support staff. (Not really--I hated that movie!)

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