Business litigation covers a wide area of legal conflicts, and when hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake, the battle over who has a right to what can be exceedingly difficult to resolve. Recently, a nuclear power plant in Georgia found itself in a business litigation dispute with Westinghouse Electric Co. The dispute stems from disagreements about cost overruns and delays relating to the first nuclear power plant to be constructed in the United States in the last 30 years.
Westinghouse Electric Co. is the developer of the nuclear facility, and Georgia Power is the utility that contracted two units to be built. The two entities have been battling over the cost of construction for a period of two years. The project, which was estimated at $14 billion, is currently 18 to 21 months delayed and is approximately $900 million over its budget.
Westinghouse claims that the budgetary expenditures, which exceed the original 2008 contract, are the result of changes to Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations. The new requirement says that nuclear reactor buildings need to be strong enough to withstand airplane collisions. However, Georgia Power blames the over-budget cost expenditures on design deficiencies found in Westinghouse’s original plans, in addition to the way that contractors executed the work.
The complexities of litigating a $900 million business litigation dispute are immense. Both sides in this case filed separate lawsuits against the other simultaneously, and they have since battled over who is the true plaintiff each side having its own version of where the over-budget expenditures and construction delays originated. However, just like in the smallest of business litigation issues, a keen legal eye that is familiar with every nuance of the law will be necessary to determine who is to blame in this case. Not only must the respective legal teams for Westinghouse and Georgia Power be on target with their interpretation of the law, but the court presiding over the case must also take care to make an appropriate decision regarding the issues litigated.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Westinghouse clashes with Georgia Power over nuclear plant cost overruns, Anya Litvak, Nov. 1, 2013