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Public utilities have unique needs and, at times, require unique legal services. Utilities are regulated by various laws and regulations generally not applicable to public-sector clients. They are also protected by special legal concepts such as immunity and damage caps. Attorneys who represent utilities must be aware of not only a utility’s legal authority to make a decision, but also procedural, ethical, environmental, and fiduciary issues and obligations affecting the utility’s ability to operate and provide services to its customers.

The broad-ranging issues involved in advising public utilities include—

  • Negotiated purchase of real estate, including permanent utility and construction easements.
  • Acquisition of property by eminent domain (condemnation).
  • Litigation arising from ordinary operations.
  • Employment law concerns, including wage and hour and workers’ compensation issues.
  • Negotiation of contracts and agreements.
  • Purchasing regulations and competitive bid laws.
  • Board governance and procedural issues.
  • Franchises and local governmental regulatory concerns.
  • Ethics laws and fiduciary duties.
  • Compensation of board members.
  • The Alabama Open Meeting Act.
  • Bond issues, rate setting, and other financial concerns.
  • Environmental regulations.

The Lanier Ford law firm has extensive experience in all these issues, as well as many more that affect the day-to-day operations of public utilities.

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