Wiggin and Dana Wins Second Circuit Appeal for Energy Company

October 14, 2014

New Haven - Wiggin and Dana successfully represented The United Illuminating Company ("UI"), an American energy company, in an appeal brought by an individual claiming that electro-magnetic fields ("EMFs") from electric distribution lines caused her harm.

The plaintiff, Judy Prescott Barnett, filed a federal lawsuit against UI and other unrelated energy companies in 2008, claiming that EMFs emanating from electric lines violated her due process rights and constituted various state law torts. UI prevailed in that suit, then won the ensuing Second Circuit appeal and successfully opposed the plaintiff's petition to the U.S. Supreme court. See Pulling the Plug. Ms. Prescott Barnett then sued again in federal court, alleging new state law tort theories against UI. After the district court dismissed the case, the plaintiff appealed. UI argued that res judicata barred the second federal suit and that no exceptions to that doctrine applied. The Second Circuit agreed, issuing a summary order validating UI's position in all respects.

Jonathan M. Freiman, Chair of Wiggin and Dana's Appellate and Complex Legal Issues Practice Group, represented UI in the appeal, with associate David Roth.