Minerals Council

Settlement negotiations in Osage Wind case set to begin in 2021

TULSA — The ongoing Osage Wind case will start 2021 with a settlement conference.   

According to court records, a settlement conference has been ordered for Jan. 14, 2021, before Adjunct Judge John Tucker. However, participating in such a conference does not automatically mean that the case will be settled.

As per the order, dated Sept. 17 and signed by Magistrate Judge Paul Cleary, all civil cases filed in the Northern District of Oklahoma are expected to go through the settlement process before taking a lawsuit to trial. Participation is mandatory for all parties.

The Osage Minerals Council and the Department of Interior must provide a statement by Dec. 31 that includes an itemization of damages, a discussion of liability and their settlement demands. Attorneys for Enel Green Power North America, Enel Kansas and Osage Wind will have one week to respond.

Meanwhile, the quest for documents continues on both sides.

Attorneys for the Osage Minerals Council are asking for documents to back up claims from Enel Green Power North America and Enel Kansas that it believed it was acting in “good faith” when it began excavation work on Osage Wind without a federal lease or permit.

Among the documents sought by Enel Green Power North America’s attorneys include all communications between the Osage Minerals Council and Osage Nation regarding the wind farm dating back to Jan. 1, 2010. In a rebuttal filed Sept. 22, attorneys for Enel pushed back at the notion that some of those communiques could fall under executive privilege.

“Executive privilege may not be invoked by the OMC to avoid producing documents in response to Defendants’ discovery requests or to otherwise decline to provide information in discovery, such as in depositions,” attorney Ryan Ray wrote. “Defendants have sought communications that may be relevant to the OMC’s knowledge about the project and the remedies OMC currently is seeking.”

A hearing on the dueling motions to compel took place on Oct. 7 via telephone before Magistrate Judge Jodi Jayne.