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Legal expert: Class action lawsuit against FP&L unmerited

By Dee Thompson | Dec 6, 2017


MIAMI -- The class action lawsuit filed against Florida Power and Light as a result of the power outages during Hurricane Irma is not merited, according to William Large of the Florida Justice Reform Institute. 

Large told the Florida Record, “I think this is a meritless lawsuit and does not take into the account the extraordinary work that Florida Power & Light did to get South Florida and the 35 counties that it covers back up and running.”

The complaint filed by Octavio Fernandez on behalf of himself and other class members Sept. 18, alleges “Most of Florida’s power grids went dead after Hurricane Irma, because FPL had not improved its power grids and distribution facilities after the last storm even though it had agreed to do so in consideration for the storm restoration monthly fee that each member of the class paid.” 

The complaint goes on to protest FP&L’s “storm restoration charge,”- an “...interim storm restoration recovery charge of $3.36 on a monthly 1,000 kWh residential bill, effective for a 12-month period beginning March 1, 2017” and notes that despite that charge being applied “...FPL has utterly failed to take precautionary measures to avoid service interruption.” 


Large believes FP&L should not have been sued. 

“The amount of logistics that had to go into managing this hurricane is extraordinary," he said. "Recall that Hurricane Irma, at first, was coming up the East Coast, then potentially was going to hit central Florida, then the west coast. That affects where you’re going to be able to get crews from – whether they are from South Carolina or North Carolina or Oklahoma or Missouri or Wisconsin. The amount of logistical work and staging that you have to do to pull this off is incredible, and Florida Power & Light did an extraordinary job in doing that. It was actually a master feat in terms of logistics, and, if anything, Florida Power & Light should be praised, not sued.” 

Large hopes the class action will be dropped: “Hopefully, FP&L would be successful in disposing of this meritless lawsuit because it is baseless.” .