US landowner wins fraud and trespass suit against EDF

Wind farm in USA. Author: Sam Howzit. License: Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic

August 3 (Renewables Now) - A California court has found that EDF Renewable Energy Inc engaged in fraud and trespassed on the property of Solano County landowner DIII Properties LLC, law firm Downey Brand LLP said this week.

The case relates to the negotiation of a 2011 easement agreement for the installation on DIII's property of electrical collection lines that would transmit power from EDF's 102.5-MW Shiloh III wind project. The Solano County, California Superior Court determined that the collection lines were installed substantially outside the agreed area and also found that the energy company agreed to an easement it knew it was going to exceed.

The San Diego-based subsidiary of the renewables arm of French power group EDF (EPA:EDF) was ordered to compensate DIII for the encroachment and to reimburse attorneys' fees incurred by the landowner, according to the announcement.  

"This was a complex and hard-fought case in which EDF denied liability for years," Downey Brand attorney Adrian Webber said of the nearly six-year litigation.  

According to the law firm, several months after construction of the lines, EDF proposed a new easement agreement to the landowner that doubled the width of the corridor without additional compensation. Duncan McCormack III, principal of DIII, was not able to get clear answers from EDF regarding where the high-voltage lines were actually installed on the property and filed a lawsuit.

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Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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