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Supreme Court hears energy contracts, age discrimination cases

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] heard consolidated oral arguments [transcript, PDF] Tuesday in Morgan Stanley Capital Group v. Public Utility Dist. 1 [LII case backgrounder; merit briefs], 06-1457 [docket; cert. petition, PDF], and American Elec. Power Service Corp. v. Public Utility Dist. 1, 06-1462 [docket; cert. petition, PDF]. Both cases involve long-term contracts made between energy suppliers and a local public utility during the Western energy crisis of 2000 and 2001 [FERC materials]. After prices normalized, the Public Utility sought to have the contracts voided by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) [official website], arguing that the contract rates were unfairly influenced by outside market manipulation during the crisis. The FERC refused nullify the contracts, but on appeal, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of Public Utility [opinion, PDF], and remanded the case to FERC. The Court will consider whether FERC has the authority to void otherwise valid energy contracts, and if so, whether or not the conditions present in this case warrant that action. Dow Jones has more.

The Court also heard arguments [transcript, PDF] Tuesday in Gomez-Perez v. Potter [LII case backgrounder; merit briefs], 06-1321, [docket; cert. petition, PDF], a case in which it will consider whether the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) [text] prohibits federal employers from retaliating against employees who allege age discrimination. The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] that the ADEA did not create a cause of action for victims of retaliation. SCOTUSblog has more.

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