January 12, 2021

Governor Shumlin wants Entergy to pay Vermont’s legal expenses

first_imgNorthstar Vermont Yankee,by Anne Galloway, www.vtdigger.org(link is external) April 30, 2011 The Shumlin administration wants Entergy Corp to pay for any legal expenses the state may incur as it defends itself against a lawsuit Entergy initiated against the state two weeks ago.That counterintuitive payment approach is called a ‘billback,’ according to a Department of Public Service official, who assured the Senate Finance Committee on Friday, such legal maneuvers are ‘an age-old tradition.’If the state, for example, was bringing a case in front of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, it could charge Entergy for the cost of hiring experts and lawyers, according to Sarah Hofmann, deputy commissioner of the Department of Public Service. The ‘causer,’ or the entity that caused the need for a legal suit, is liable for the cost, she said.The ‘bill backs’ would be effective immediately if the Legislature adopts the new statutory language as part of H.56, the omnibus energy bill, which was unanimously voted out of committee on Friday. The bill will go to the floor of the Senate early next week.The change in statute would make Entergy Corp. liable for the state’s legal expenses, including responses to public records requests and the preparation of litigation in the case, which the corporation lodged against the state in U.S District Court in Burlington.Entergy alleges that the state went back on its word when the Legislature passed a law in 2006 requiring Entergy to obtain permission from lawmakers on a license extension for Vermont Yankee, which is, under a 2002 memorandum of understanding, set to shut down March 21, 2012. The Louisiana-based nuclear power company’s case is based on the question of pre-emption. Entergy argues in its complaint that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which approved a new license for the company in March, has pre-emptive authority over state law.Attorney General Bill Sorrell has said the suit could be protracted and potentially costly if it goes all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. CORRECTED Just this week, Sorrell’s office may have lost a data mining case heard by the Supreme Court Justices. Cheryl Hanna, a legal expert and professorwith Vermont Law School, wrote in an opinion piece last week that sheanticipates if Vermont loses the case, in which it defended a new law regulating access to physician records, it will likely cost the state about $1 million.A court would rule on who would pay the damages in the Entergy lawsuit, Hofmann said. And the state, if it loses, could be responsible for not only its own legal costs, but also those of the plaintiff.Sen. Randy Brock, R-Grand Isle-Franklin, asked Hofmann: ‘Is it common that if someone sues us that they charge us legal fees for representing us in that lawsuit?’He put it another way: ‘If a state vehicle runs me over and I sue the state, the state requires me to pay for experts hired by the state to testify against me.’Hofmann replied that ‘It’s not unusual to see a bill back for the cost to the causer.’ At the end of the litigation, the federal judge decides who gets awards for attorneys’ fees and costs.The Vermont Attorney General’s office and Shumlin’s legal counsel Beth Robinson support the change in statute.‘We stand firmly behind the language,’ Robinson said. ‘We think it’s the right thing to do.’  Anne Galloway is editor of vtdigger.orglast_img read more

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O’Driscoll: Bring on the World Cup

first_imgBrian O’Driscoll believes Ireland have the perfect platform to take the World Cup by storm after clinching the RBS 6 Nations title. Defeat to Wales in their previous outing meant the Grand Slam was not on, and Ireland had a nervous wait to discover whether England could overturn a 26-point differential in their late Twickenham clash with France. England fell narrowly short so Ireland were able to celebrate long into the night, and now thoughts turn to the World Cup campaign later in the year. “I think it sets us up really well,” O’Driscoll said. “You always look at positives in any loss – the defeat to Wales might be a blessing in disguise. “In Ireland we don’t do middle ground: we’re either top of the pile or bottom of the heap. “If we had won the Grand Slam, going into the World Cup, there would have been an absolutely insane amount of pressure on the boys. “That being said, we’ve won the Six Nations and there’s still going to be that pressure and that level of expectation. “But it’s been a little bit tempered by the fact we did lose last week, so hopefully it gives us an opportunity to slip in a fraction more under the radar. Press Association “We’re playing with a huge amount of confidence, we’ve got a very distinct understanding of what our strategy is and what our game plan is, and everyone’s singing off the same hymn sheet. “If we can be fortunate with not losing too many players to injury I don’t see why we can’t find ourselves in a semi-final – all bets are off when you get to that point.” O’Driscoll, speaking on BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek programme, reflected on a “crazy, crazy” afternoon of rugby, while former England skipper Will Carling labelled it “the most amazing day of Six Nations or Five Nations rugby I’ve ever seen”. Carling is also optimistic that England, the hosts, can have a strong World Cup, following their 55-35 win over France. “Sport can be cruel and it can have the most incredible highs and lows. Sometimes it’s cruel but it’s always in your hands,” Carling said. “The England players made an incredible effort. You feel very sorry for them. “They gave it an incredible shot but just fell short. It’s something they have to learn from, that’s the key from an English point of view. “I think what England will learn is if they go out in every game with the intensity they showed in the second half against Wales (in the opening Six Nations match) they can beat everyone. “You’ve got to be able to do that week in and week out at a World Cup.” The former Ireland skipper was at the centre of the narrative 12 months ago as Joe Schmidt’s team carried off the trophy with victory over France in Paris. It was his final international match and meant that this year, as Ireland were clinching a successful defence, O’Driscoll was with friends and family watching on television as Ireland thrashed Scotland 40-10 at Murrayfield. last_img read more

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