Gordon A. Coffee State of California (In re Lockyer) v. British Columbia Power Exchange Corp. et al. Secured a decision dismissing a $190 million claim against client Allegheny Energy Supply Company, LLC. A FERC administrative law judge found that the California Attorney General had not proved that Allegheny possessed market power when making sales to a California agency during the California energy crisis. The judge further rejected the California AG’s argument that Allegheny should be ordered to make refunds because it allegedly took advantage of a pricing umbrella created by other sellers. In re USGen New England Served as lead counsel in defending USGen New England, Inc., after it elected to reject in bankruptcy a natural gas transportation contract with TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. TransCanada claimed that it was owed more than $50 million in damages for breach of the contract. After a nine-day bench trial and extensive post-trial briefing, the federal bankruptcy court agreed with our position that TransCanada had mitigated all but $3.4 million of its damages. The court accepted our theory on how TransCanada had resold the pipeline capacity originally purchased by USGen to another customer and rejected TransCanada’s argument that its alleged ability to increase pipeline capacity precluded USGen from receiving mitigation credit for resale of the capacity. Midwestern Energy Company Led defense of a Midwestern utility against a claim that it was contractually obligated under a power purchase agreement to provide customers with capacity credits worth more than $30 million. After a hearing and several briefs, an arbitration panel ruled in favor of the utility on all major issues. In re Episcopal Church Litigation Served as lead trial counsel for a multi-firm team representing former Episcopal congregations in Virginia in a battle with the Episcopal Church over property with an estimated worth of more than $40 million. Successfully led the team through two bench trials, with the trial court issuing a series of decisions affirming the right of the congregations to leave the Episcopal Church while retaining their property. The case is presently on remand from appellate court for further proceedings. In re Enron Power Marketing, Inc. Successfully defended a large international consulting firm against allegations that the firm’s employees had withheld evidence during a FERC investigation into Enron’s activities. After an investigation and a series of technical
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conferences and hearings, FERC affirmed a finding by its chief administrative law judge of no wrongdoing by any of the consulting firm’s employees. In re USGen New England Was lead counsel in defending USGen against a $41 million claim brought by Tennessee Gas Pipeline after USGen’s rejection of a long-term gas transportation contract with Tennessee. The case raised novel issues regarding the calculation of future damages and projected mitigation of those damages. After the pipeline alleged that the filed rate doctrine controlled the calculation of damages, we secured a declaratory judgment from FERC stating that state law governed. Ultimately, after extensive discovery and a six-day bench trial, the trial court entered favorable factual findings, reducing the claim to less than $15 million. The case ultimately settled for $9 million. Attala Generating Co, LLC v. Attala Energy Company, LCC Acted as lead counsel in defending a $477 million breach of contract claim arising from termination of a long-term tolling agreement with a power plant owner. The case presented complicated issues regarding the calculation of damages, such as projected future energy prices, the likelihood of carbon taxes, and appropriate discount rates. Managed the case through a one-week arbitration hearing and post-hearing briefs and argument. The case settled favorably before the arbitration panel issued its award. U.S. Ship Management v. Maersk Line Limited Shared duties as lead counsel in an arbitration proceeding involving contract termination rights valued at $25 million. After an evidentiary hearing and extensive briefing, the panel issued an award in favor of our client on all points. Also obtained a preliminary injunction from a federal court in aid of arbitration. National Housing Partnership v. Municipal Capital Appreciation Partners Lead counsel in a dispute arising over foreclosures on low-income housing projects in Maryland and Virginia. Won motion for summary judgment, later affirmed on appeal, extinguishing the claim that our client was liable for partner loans made by NHP to fund improvements to one of the projects. Further led the team through a seven-day bench trial centering on the reasonableness of the foreclosure auction. The case ultimately settled. Sporicidin Int’l v. Baker & Hostetler Co-led a team in defending national law firm against a $70 million legal malpractice claim. At the conclusion of a nine-week trial, a District of Columbia jury found in favor of the law firm on the malpractice claim, finding that none of its lawyers was negligent in representing the former client before various federal agencies. Jennings v. Cedar Cliff After contentious discovery and a four-day jury trial, secured a verdict that the defendant breached a commercial lease claim and that our client had not wrongfully evicted the defendant from the premises. Miller & Miller v. Modesto Broadcast Group Defended a partnership against a fee claim brought by the partnership’s former lawyer. Secured a defense verdict after a four-day jury trial.
Mark Barron, O.D. v. Vision Service Plan Represented an optometrist in his effort to remain on the provider panel of the nation’s largest vision care insurer. Obtained a preliminary injunction from a federal judge preventing VSP from terminating Dr. Barron’s membership. The case ultimately settled. American Lithotripsy Society v. Thompson Managed an effort on behalf of a group of urologists and affiliated professionals to enjoin the Department of Health and Human Services from enforcing Stark II regulations with respect to lithotripsy. Ultimately, obtained a declaratory judgment and permanent injunction against the government, thereby preserving our client’s contractual relationships that were adversely impacted by the regulations. Shuffle Master, Inc. v. VendingData Corp. Defended a company in a patent infringement action over card-shuffling machines. Briefed and argued a Markman hearing that resulted in a favorable patent construction, and wrote the briefs that persuaded the Federal Circuit to first stay and later reverse a preliminary injunction entered by the trial court. Lee Technologies, Inc. v. Virginia Department of Taxation Led an effort to secure refund of sales tax paid on sales to an entity that went bankrupt. The tax authority initially refused to issue a refund to anyone other than the customer, but after several months of litigation, it refunded the sales tax in full, with interest.
The above is a list of the more notable cases. In all, Mr. Coffee has acted as first or second chair in over 30 civil and criminal trials and arbitration and administrative hearings, most of which resulted in positive outcomes. He further has handled numerous other civil and criminal disputes and criminal and regulatory investigations that were favorably resolved short of trial. He has argued more than 80 motions before state and federal courts.
Practice Areas Antitrust
Appellate and Critical Motions
Labor and Employment Relations
Corporate Internal Investigations
Mergers and Acquisitions
e-Discovery and Electronic Information
Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation
Product Liability Public Finance
Energy Real Estate Environmental Restructuring and Insolvency Financial Services Securities Government Contracts Securitization Governmental Relations and Regulatory Affairs
Trusts and Estates
White-Collar Criminal Defense
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