On March 8th, the National Grid suffered a catastrophic blackout which resulted in the suspension of electric power to millions of Americans.
At the time, National Grid was not disputing the claim of the loss. Now, two weeks later, the Grid is refusing to pay up and has filed a suit against Wipro claiming it was owed a penalty for its part in the blackout.
This lawsuit is the second such legal issue between National Grid and Wipro this year. In January, the Grid was ordered to pay millions of pounds in damages to an Indian man who died while attempting to install solar panels on his farm.
National Grid Lawsuit
According to the lawsuit filed by National Grid, Wipro did not have a permit to construct the solar panels on his property. Moreover, Wipro never obtained a construction permit for the solar energy project on the lake it was constructing at.
Wipro further claims that the permit it did get was improperly obtained and invalidated by the Lake Superior Court. The lawsuit also claims that National Grid failed to conduct a fair inspection prior to granting the permit. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of all the property owners affected by the blackout.
On April 7th, the National Grid received a court order to respond to the complaint and to determine what relief they might receive.
On April 8th, the National Grid met with the Lake Superior Court judge assigned to the case. A Status Conference was held, during which time both sides stated their position at length, and the judge made the necessary decisions. On April 9th, the court ordered the National Grid to file its answer by June 8th.
According to National Grid, it will file its answer by mid-July, after the case has been wrapped up for the summer. National Grid further stated that it still intends to appeal the court’s denial of the permit.
Now, over a month since receiving the court order, and after many meetings and negotiations between both sides of the lawsuit, the parties involved have reached an agreement regarding a settlement of the lawsuit.
The parties have agreed to a payment of approximately two-hundred and fifty thousand dollars to be divided among the twenty-eight plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Also included in this settlement are three-hundred and forty-five thousand dollars to cover legal fees.
The amount of money actually received from this settlement is less than the one-thousand-dollar judgment the judge had ordered the company to pay earlier in the case. However, despite this, the company does not feel optimistic about appealing the entire verdict.
In conclusion, the National Grid has been served upon. Although the dispute is nothing serious by any means, there is potential for conflict of interest if the company does not appeal.
The potential award will be the third largest software contract in history and could easily reach into the five-thousand dollar range. As such, it could prove to be quite profitable for National Grid itself, even though the lawsuit filed against them has been denied.