Barclays Wins Favorable Ruling in Long-Running FERC Litigation

Skadden achieved a favorable ruling on behalf of Barclays PLC in litigation with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California charging Barclays and four former executives with manipulating the energy market, and had sought an approximately $500 million penalty from Barclays. FERC took the position that the action it filed against Barclays should not be governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and that no trial was necessary. Rather, FERC concluded that Barclays was liable based on its own investigation, in which Barclays had no ability to compel witnesses to testify or to produce documents.

In an opinion rejecting all of FERC's arguments and adopting all of Barclays', Judge Troy L. Nunley denied FERC's motion for summary affirmance, finding that the commission's argument was premised on a misreading of the relevant statute governing the proceeding, that FERC's position was unfair to Barclays, which would otherwise have been denied any opportunity to defend itself, and that had the statute not been so clear, the court would have had serious due process concerns.