Weeks after a federal judge dismissed a natural gas price gouging lawsuit stemming for high prices during 2021 Winter Storm Uri and filed by the Kansas Attorney General against a natural gas marketer who also operates in Oklahoma, AG Kris Kobach hired a new law firm to represent Kansas.
Reports indicate Kobach picked Hilgers Graben, a firm that describes itself as an elite nationwide litigation and discovery counsel firm specializing in complex commercial and intellectual property litigation, discovery counsel services, and trademark services.” The firm has offices in Nebraska, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Miami and West Palm Beach, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Diego, Seattle, and Washington D.C., and is licensed to practice in over 23 states.
The contract with Kansas was awarded in early October but not made public until the release of a state contract database.
Kobach originally filed suit in Shawnee County District Court in Topeka, Kansas, then moved it to federal court where U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree dismissed that case on Oct. 5 on a technicality. He cited a mistake in the original lawsuit filed in county district court which prevented the federal court from having jurisdiction.
The case is closely watched in Oklahoma where Attorney General Gentner Drummond has vowed to file a similar price-gouging lawsuit against marketers. He chose the Oklahoma City law firm of Foshee & Yaffe to handle any possible lawsuit. It was the same firm the Attorney General used in conducting a preliminary investigation into alleged marketing manipulation.
Drummond opened the representation process to public bidding and eventually returned to Foshee & Yaffe to represent the state in what he promised would “probably be the most significant lawsuit filed by the state of Oklahoma in its history.”
While the Attorney General never identified the firms involved in the suspected market manipulation in Oklahoma, he declared, “The magnitude of this scheme is staggering and unconscionable.”
He also said those involved “reaped billions of dollars at the expense of Oklahoma families and businesses” during the 2021 Winter Storm Uri.
To date, there has been no public development regarding any litigation filed by the law firm in its handling of Oklahoma’s version of alleged market manipulation.