Taft recently achieved a significant summary judgment victory on behalf of its client, Duke Energy. In Sierra Club v. Duke Energy Indiana, Inc. the Sierra Club challenged a number of projects at Duke's Edwardsport plant, claiming the projects triggered the New Source Review requirements of the Clean Air Act, and that controls costing tens of millions of dollars should be installed at the plant. After some initial rounds of discovery, Taft lawyers argued that the projects were beyond the applicable statute of limitations of five years for legal claims; that the concurrent remedy doctrine barred equitable claims; and, that the Sierra Club's Title V claims were barred as an impermissible collateral attack. Judge Barker ruled in favor of Duke on all arguments. An important aspect of the ruling is the Court's finding that the statute of limitations began to run when the projects were completed, rejecting the Sierra Club's argument of "continuing violation."
These issues have been aggressively litigated in other cases around the country as part of the EPA's NSR Enforcement Initiative and the Sierra Club's "Stopping the Coal Rush" program. This case adds to the jurisprudence of what is unsettled law in many federal circuits.