Stone & Webster, Inc. v. Georgia Power Co.

The 2008 contract for the design and construction of nuclear electrical generating units at a Georgia power plant specifies that it is to be governed by Georgia law. The contractor sought payment after Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirements delayed the project and imposed additional costs. The contract calls for mediation. After 60 days, either party may proceed to litigation “in a court of competent jurisdiction,” the parties “agree to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for any legal proceedings.” After mediation the contractor filed its District of Columbia complaint, seeking more than $900 million. The court’s electronic filing log reported “11/01/2012 20:00:01” as the filing time. Georgia Power filed in the Southern District of Georgia, seeking to recover more than $100 million paid under protest and a declaratory judgment. The hard copy of the complaint notes November 1, 2012, 8:00 p.m. as the time of the filing. The district court did not decide who filed first, but determined that the controversy should be adjudicated in Georgia, regardless of which party filed first. The D.C. Circuit affirmed. A clause permitting first-to-file challenges (comparing one lawsuit to another) contemplated that the venue clause was permissive. View "Stone & Webster, Inc. v. Georgia Power Co." on Justia Law