Southern Alliance for Clean Energy v. Duke Energy Carolinas LLC (4th Cir. Apr. 14, 2011):
The Fourth Circuit affirmed a decision awarding nearly $500,000 in attorneys’ fees to environmental groups that challenged approval of a coal-fired power plant in North Carolina. The groups filed suit in July 2008, alleging that state regulators had not checked whether the plant would meet the CAA’s requirement that it use maximum achievable control technology. In December 2008, the district court granted the groups’ motion for summary judgment. However, the district court dismissed the case in July 2009 because regulators had taken over handling the file. Nonetheless, the district court held that the defendant company was required to pay some of the attorneys’ fees that plaintiffs had incurred to that point. The Fourth Circuit affirmed, holding that the plaintiffs need only achieve “some” success to qualify for an award under the CAA.