One of the most important and rewarding roles of an attorney is to be a voice for those who have been wronged by organizations that should have aimed to serve them. Recently, JJS attorneys Kenneth Suggs and Patrick Thronson were among the team of lawyers representing customers in a federal racketeering lawsuit against South Carolina Energy and Gas company (SCE&G). Customers were cheated out of $2 billion dollars, which was used in the failed construction of a nuclear power plant.
SCE&G acted unconstitutionally when they built the cost of the new plant into the bills of customers of their electric services. We represented customers in a federal case and helped draft the complaint against SCE&G, using the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to highlight its wrongdoing, which significantly expanded the basis for their liability in these claims. Our team played a major role in opposing efforts by SCE&G to dismiss the lawsuit, which would have been a huge disservice to the more than 1.6 million residents of South Carolina.
Judge John Hayes ruled in favor of the people of South Carolina and stated that the complexity and scope of the case made it “unparalleled in South Carolina legal history.” The settlement was for $2.2 billion dollars: $2 billion in future rate relief, and nearly $200 million in cash refunds for their customers, making it what is believed to be the largest private class action settlement in South Carolina’s history.
The battle, however, is not yet over. We are also continuing to pursue a lawsuit against South Carolina’s other major electrical utility, Santee Cooper, under alleged violations of the same RICO Act, as well as violations of the U.S. Constitution.
Our efforts will not end until justice has been fully restored to the people of South Carolina. We as consumers put our trust in these organizations and in the government to ensure our interests are being considered. When our trust is breached, the law must step in. We are working to help the people of South Carolina win back the money they were cheated out of, but more importantly, to win back their power.