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James Michael Walls

James Michael Walls

Of Counsel

Overview

Mike Walls' practice includes representing electric utilities in litigation in both state and federal courts and in regulatory proceedings before the Florida Public Service Commission. Mike's practice also includes representing companies in contractual and consumer-related disputes, including class actions, in both state and federal courts and arbitrations. 

Mike has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America (Energy Law).

Experience

Class Actions:

  • Defended class action privacy claims under the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act in federal court in Florida and Texas against a commercial data company that were settled in a nation-wide class action settlement. The nationwide class action settlement involved injunctive relief in the form of the implementation of industry best-practices with publication notice to the class that was approved by the district court after an evidentiary hearing.
  • Dismissal with prejudice of class action privacy claims under the Driver's Privacy Protection Act against a check services company in federal court in Texas that was affirmed on appeal by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal.
  • Dismissal of class action privacy claims under the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act against a commercial data company in federal court in Missouri.
  • Dismissal with prejudice of a consumer class action filed against a marketing company for violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
  • Dismissal of a consumer class action against an electric utility company for customer billing issues.
  • Defended claims against an individual officer in a securities fraud class action in federal court in Illinois that were settled at mediation following motions to dismiss.
  • Dismissal of class action warranty claims arising from allegedly defective PVC piping against a chemical manufacturer in federal court in Florida following briefing on summary judgment and class certification. 
  • Defended class action warranty claims against an automobile manufacturer in state court in Florida that were settled.
  • Defended consumer class actions against a communications company that were dismissed.
  • Settlement of class action securities fraud claims against a national bank as individual claims in federal court in Florida after favorable rulings on class certification and summary judgment.

Energy Litigation (Courts and Arbitrations):

  • Defended electric utility company in state court proceedings in Florida regarding franchise disputes with municipalities that were settled.
  • Represented electric utility company in a three-week arbitration to determine the value of the company’s distribution system pursuant to a purchase option in the company’s franchise agreement with the municipality resulting in an award for the electric utility company in excess of $30 million.
  • Represented electric utility company in a two-week arbitration to determine the value of the company’s distribution system pursuant to a purchase option in the company’s franchise agreement with the municipality resulting in an award for the electric utility company in excess of $20 million.
  • Represented electric utility company in a one-week arbitration to determine the value of the company’s distribution system pursuant to a purchase option in the company’s franchise agreement with the municipality resulting in an award for the electric utility company in excess of $8 million.
  • Defended local county government against claims for breach of contract under a management agreement for a waste-to-energy facility in federal court in Florida that were settled after summary judgment briefing.
  • Represented trustee on bond indenture with respect to contractual and operational disputes between a local county government and the operator of a waste-to-energy facility.
  • Defended electric utility company on claim of breach of gas supply contract in Florida state court.
  • Defended electric utility company against breach of contract claims for purchased power from cogeneration facilities in Florida state courts that were settled.

Energy Litigation (Administrative):

  • Represented electric utility company in two-week evidentiary hearing in a base rate proceeding for $500 million increase in base rates.
  • Represented an electric utility company in petitions for limited base rate relief and deferrals of expenses that resulted in base rate relief following an evidentiary hearing.
  • Represented electric utility company in annual evidentiary hearings to determine the prudency of costs incurred in the development of new nuclear power plants and in a project to uprate the power production at an existing nuclear power plant.
  • Represented electric utility company in proceeding to determine the need for two nuclear power plants that was approved following a week-long evidentiary hearing.
  • Defended an electric utility in a week-long evidentiary hearing to review the prudence of costs incurred by the utility for coal for a 10-year period that resulted in the rejection of the petition for refund of $143 million.
  • Represented an electric utility in need determination proceedings for the construction of natural gas-fired, combined cycle generation units that resulted in approval of the need for the units.
  • Represented an electric utility in proceedings to increase base rates that were settled by the utility.

Business Litigation:

  • Settlement at mediation of alleged breach of warranty claims on behalf of a commercial gas supplier.
  • Settlement at mediation of product liability claim against tile machine manufacturer.
  • Settlement at mediations of sick building claims against chemical manufacturer in several state and federal court proceedings.
  • Settlement at mediation of claims brought by strawberry farmers for product defect and breach of warranty against chemical manufacturer. 

Representative Cases:

  • Taylor, et al. v. Acxiom Corporation, et al., 612 F.3d 325 (5th Cir. 2010), cert. denied, 131 S. Ct. 908 (2011) (affirming dismissal with prejudice of privacy class action claims under the Driver's Privacy Protection Act).
  • Fresco, et al. v. Automotive Directions, Inc., et al., Case No. 03-CIV-61063-MARTINEZ-SIMONTON, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida (January 2009) and Taylor, et al. v. Acxiom Corporation, et al., Case No. 2:07cv01, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (November 2009) (nationwide class action settlements and dismissals of class action privacy claims under the Driver's Privacy Protection Act).
  • Emily Roberts, et al. v. ChexSystems Collection Agency, Inc., Case No. 09-04150-CV-C-NKL, United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri (November 2009) (dismissal of privacy class action claims against check service company).
  • Panda Energy International v. Jacobs, 813 So. 2d 46 (Fla. 2002) (affirming on appeal the determination of need for a combined cycle generation plant granted by the Florida Public Service Commission).
  • Tampa Electric Co. v. Garcia, 767 So. 2d 428 (Fla. 2000) (reversing Florida Public Service Commission determination of need for a merchant power plant on grounds the Commission exceeded statutory authority).
  • Florida Power Corporation v. Town of Belleair, 830 So. 2d. 852 (Fla. 2d DCA 2002) (affirming partial summary judgment and reversing mandatory injunction for Town against utility on grounds the court cannot extend the terms of a franchise agreement after its expiration), reversed by Town of Belleair v. Florida Power Corporation, 897 So. 2d 1261 (Fla. 2005).
  • In re: Petition for Determination of Need for Citrus County Combined Cycle Power Plant, Order No. PSC-14-0557-FOF-EI, Docket No. 140110-EI (October 10, 2014) (order approving need for $1.5 billion new power plant following evidentiary hearing on need for and cost effectiveness of the plant).
  • In re: Nuclear Cost Recovery Clause, Order Nos. PSC-14-0617-FOF-EI, Docket No. 140009-EI (October 27, 2014); PSC-13-0493-FOF-EI, Docket No. 130009-EI (October 18, 2013); PSC-0650-FOF-EI, Docket No. 120009-EI (December 11, 2012); PSC-11-0547-FOF-EI, Docket No. 110009-EI (November 23, 2011); Order No. PSC-11-0095-FOF-EI, Docket No. 100009-EI (February 2, 2011); Order No. PSC-09-0783-FOF-EI, Docket No. 090009-EI (November 19, 2009). (orders in annual evidentiary hearings authorizing cost recovery for nuclear power plants and nuclear power plant power uprate). 
  • In re: Petition for increase in rates by Progress Energy Florida, Inc., et al., Order No. PSC-10-0131-FOF-EI, Docket No. 090079-EI, Docket No. 090144-EI, and Docket No. 090145-EI (June 12, 2009 and March 18, 2010) (orders addressing base rate and other rate relief on behalf of electric utility).
  • In re: Progress Energy Florida, Inc., Order No. PSC-08-0518-FOF-EI, Docket No. 080148-EI, 2008 WL 3918006 (Fla. P.S.C. Aug. 12, 2008) (granting petition for determination of need for proposed nuclear power plants).
  • In re: Progress Energy Florida, Inc., Order No. PSC-07-0816-FOF-EI, Docket No. 060658-EI, 200 P.U.R. 4th 306, 2007 WL 2980912 (Fla. P.S.C. Oct. 10, 2007) (rejecting petition to require utility to refund customers $143 million for imprudent coal purchases, limiting refund to $12 million).
  • In re: Progress Energy Florida, Inc., Order No. PSC-07-0119-FOF-EI, Docket No. 060642-EI, 255 P.U.R. 4th 422, 2007 WL 517088 (Fla. P.S.C. Feb. 8, 2007) (granting utility petition for determination of need for proposed expansion of nuclear power plant).
  • In re: Progress Energy Florida, Inc., Order No. PSC-05-0748-FOF-EI, Docket No. 041272-EI, 242 P.U.R. 4th 260, 2005 WL 1708339 (Fla. P.S.C. July 14, 2005) (order authorizing utility to implement surcharge to recover over $230 million in extraordinary expenditures related to post-hurricane repair and restoration activities).

Recognition

  • AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Energy Law (2008-2019)

Professional & Community Involvement

  • American Bar Association
    • Section of Public Utility, Communications, and Transportation Law, Electricity Committee
  • American Bar Association
    • Section of Litigation, Energy Litigation Committee
  • The Florida Bar
    • Administrative Law Section
  • Hillsborough County Bar Association
  • Ferguson White American Inn of Court (2004-present)
    • Masters Status (2008) 

Credentials

Education
  • University of Virginia School of Law (J.D., 1987)
  • University of Kentucky (B.A., with high honors, 1984)
Bar Admissions
  • Florida
Court Admissions
  • United States Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
  • Florida State Courts

Disclaimer

The information on this website is presented as a service for our clients and Internet users and is not intended to be legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. Although we welcome your inquiries, please keep in mind that merely contacting us will not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. Consequently, you should not convey any confidential information to us until a formal attorney-client relationship has been established. Please remember that electronic correspondence on the internet is not secure and that you should not include sensitive or confidential information in messages. With that in mind, we look forward to hearing from you.