Amicus Briefs

Open Markets Filed Amicus Brief to First Circuit Court in Support of New England Residents in Breiding v. Eversource Energy

March 1, 2019

Open Markets filed an amicus brief to the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in support of New England residents in Breiding v. Eversource Energy. The plaintiffs, a class of New England residents, accuse two vertically-integrated utilities, Eversource Energy and Avangrid, of creating an artificial shortage of natural gas in New England and unleashing a chain of events that led to higher retail electricity prices. The plaintiffs allege that the defendants’ monopolistic conduct increased the cost of power to New Englanders by more than $3 billion.

The district court dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint, holding (among other things) that the “filed rate doctrine” bars their antitrust claims. Courts developed the filed rate doctrine to protect the integrity of regulator-set rates and prevent these rates from being ignored in practice or challenged in parallel judicial proceedings. The court here, however, expanded the filed rate doctrine to insulate the manipulation of market-based prices from private antitrust lawsuits. Open Markets’ brief argues that the district court’s decision is bad law and undermines the federal objective of creating competitive markets in gas and electricity.

Read the full brief here.