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Energy Litigation & Appeals

In the energy industry, sometimes disputes arise that cannot be resolved through negotiation alone, and they require resolution by the courts. Our Energy Law Litigation and Appeals team brings its in-depth industry knowledge to the representation of clients in state and federal trial and appellate courts.

Our Approach

In situations that require litigation, our team advocates on your behalf to achieve a result that makes sense and help you accomplish your objectives. Whether it involves appearing before local, state or district courts, our seasoned team of experts can navigate through even the toughest course, to seek a better outcome for your business.

Once it does come to litigation, regulatory matters often end up before the appellate courts. Our team is practiced in the unique process, rules and strategy that are required at the appellate level, and have the benefit of insider insight that comes from many on the appellate team having clerked in the state and federal appellate courts before joining Winthrop – including at the Minnesota Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which hears appeals from Minnesota’s federal district court.

Together with our regulatory and government relations teams, our litigation and appeals teams provide true top-to-bottom advocacy for our clients – increasing efficiency and maximizing the probability of long term success for your business.

Clients Include

  • Investor owned utilities
  • Gas and oil pipeline companies
  • Independent power producers
  • Renewable energy developers
  • Large energy customers
  • State and local units of government


  • Appeals from final orders and judgments
  • Constitutional challenges
  • Interlocutory appeals
  • Writs of mandamus and prohibition
  • Petitions for further review
  • Petitions for writs of certiorari
  • Amicus briefs

Notable Experience

  • Represented several governmental and non-governmental authorities in North Dakota, challenging a Minnesota statute designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, seeking to regulate and prohibit the importation of certain kinds of electrical power that are generated outside the state, but consumed in Minnesota. We argued that it’s not Minnesota’s place to dictate how other states regulate power, and that the Minnesota statute makes it impossible for residents to acquire energy from a regional electric grid that encompasses several states. In 2014, a district judge agreed that the statute violated the extraterritoriality doctrine of the dormant commerce clause, striking down the law as unconstitutional and barring the defendants from enforcing it. The defense appealed, but the Eighth Circuit upheld the lower court decision, finding in favor of our clients. When we filed the suit, the defendants publicly condemned it as a “Hail Mary effort” with no chance of success, yet we prevailed in all respects, established important legal precedent, obtained all the relief we sought for our clients, including an award for attorney’s fees.