In a hearing on Friday, September 1, in the matter of Century Aluminum of South Carolina Inc. v. South Carolina Public Service Authority (Santee Cooper), the Honorable Richard Gergel of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina indicated that he would dismiss the antitrust lawsuit brought by Century Aluminum against South Carolina’s leading power company.
The decision concludes a long-running fight over the power supply to Century Aluminum’s Mt. Holly smelter. In the suit, which was filed in January 2017, Century claimed it was forced to pay higher electricity rates because Santee Cooper “used its monopoly power over transmission of electric power in its service area” in violation of state and federal antitrust laws and unfair trade practices.
Agreeing with Santee Cooper’s Motion to Dismiss, Judge Gergel invoked the state action immunity doctrine and said during Friday’s hearing that Santee Cooper is a sub-state agency that has been granted a legal monopoly by the state legislature and is, therefore, immune from suit under antitrust laws.
Loeb & Loeb LLP, together with South Carolina-based Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, is representing Santee Cooper in the matter. The Loeb & Loeb team was led by Richard Lorenzo, Theodore Duver and Nichole Travers.