In its weekly Litigator of the Week column, Law.com has recognized a Pillsbury litigation team led by William Sullivan, Jr., for achieving a rare dismissal on the grounds of grand jury bias for former Westinghouse Electric Co. nuclear executive Jeffrey Benjamin in a case centering on the construction of the V.C. Summer nuclear power plant in Jenkinsville, South Carolina.
According to Law.com, Benjamin was indicted on charges that he obscured the status of the project from 2015 to 2017, when it was reportedly behind schedule, to maintain cash flow and liquidity for WEC. But U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis dismissed the indictment finding that the government had failed to identify and recuse the ratepayers to the utilities for whom WEC was constructing the plant—Benjamin’s alleged victims.
“It is common sense that in a robbery case, the person who allegedly had their belongings taken would be barred, as a victim, from participating in indicting the accused, no matter if there was a mountain of evidence against the accused or if the victim insisted they could remain impartial,” the judge wrote. “So too must ratepayers be barred from evaluating the superseding indictment as written.”
The Pillsbury team included partners Tom Hill and Pat Hovakimian, counsel Drew Navikas, senior associates Brian Beckerman and Chris Butler, associates Sarah Madigan, Patti Rothenberg-Montz, Philip He, Johnna Purcell and Yona Starosta, senior law clerks Leighton Watson, Kristina Sgambati and Andrea Shang, and attorney Andrew Gibson.