Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram

“Their practice is more like an art form – they approach it with absolute creativity!”

Edward P. Rudden – President and Owner, Accordia Consulting

Power & Energy

Power & Energy


In the global power and energy sector, Shapiro Lifschitz & Schram is a leader in representing clients in construction disputes and transactions. Our attorneys’ trial experience includes winning one of the largest liquidated damages awards in the history of the construction industry, and our transactional experience includes negotiating and drafting multibillion-dollar EPC contracts for new power plants and industrial facilities.

Our clients include public utilities, merchant power generators, private equity firms and developers, and various private and governmental owners and operators of power plants. We also represent and advise EPC contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, and sureties.

Power and Energy Construction Disputes

Shapiro Lifschitz & Schram’s highly experienced trial team prepares, analyzes, defends, and prosecutes virtually every type of power/energy construction claim, including equipment-related claims, technology-based claims, differing site conditions, acceleration, change orders, defective plans and specifications, construction and design defects, delays, disruptions, labor inefficiency, suspensions, and terminations. The trial team has extensive experience in cost-effective electronic discovery, document review management, and litigation support systems.

Our experience helps clients keep projects on schedule and on budget. We help avoid disputes and litigation through risk shifting, efficient claims analysis, and creative dispute resolution techniques. A substantial part of our practice includes representing clients in very large multimillion dollar arbitrations, mediations, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

Power and Energy Deals

Shapiro Lifschitz & Schram’s transactional team has exceptional experience in engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contracts. Our attorneys also review, draft, and negotiate architect, construction, design-build, construction management, government, and international contracts and subcontracts. We also help our clients establish contract-administration procedures.

Our experience and our knowledge of the industry allow us to field a fully experienced, multidisciplinary team of attorneys, engineers, accountants, and other experts, working together to provide clients with a highly experienced, passionate team that delivers solutions to complex problems.

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Our attorneys' passion for power and energy construction leads many of them to teach. As part of the firm’s Must-Know Seminars,™ our lawyers teach owners, contractors, and OEMs the intricacies of EPC contracts in energy projects; claims avoidance, mitigation, and resolution; and winning the must-win case, among other topics. Judd Lifschitz has annually served as faculty for the American Bar Association's Construction Forum Trial Academy, teaching new construction lawyers the skills to successfully try disputes. In addition, our lawyers contribute power and energy insights to industry publications and the SLS Law Blog, and frequently publish and speak on developments in the industry.

We are immersed in the power and energy industry. Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram is a member of the Edison Electric Institute, the association of U.S. shareholder-owned electric companies. Clients are often surprised at our industry knowledge and the range of our strategic thinking. To a high degree, we help our clients navigate law and business, steering them through complex disputes while also getting a plant finished and goals met.

We are passionate about the energy and power industry to which we dedicate our practices. We feverishly keep up with emerging technology. We enjoy and rise to the challenge of the inherent complexity of these disputes and transactions, each of which could involve scores of issues and strategies. We love the challenges—not just the challenges for successful cases and deals, but ensuring that our clients receive the best advice and representation to solve problems.

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Our extensive, nationwide experience—in litigation, arbitration, and mediation of complex and high-profile construction disputes—guides the successful solutions we have provided to our power and energy clients. Examples of Our Solutions »

Litigation and Arbitration against Bechtel Corporation

Eastern USA: Litigation, Arbitration, and Mediation

Western USA: Litigation, Arbitration, and Mediation

Southern USA: Litigation and Mediation

Alternative Energies


  • Successfully represented New Athens Generating Company, LLC, in a series of complex arbitrations against Bechtel Power Corporation, resulting in one of the largest liquidated damages awards in the history of the construction industry.

    Bechtel was the EPC contractor, responsible for the design, equipment procurement, and construction of a 1,080-megawatt power plant in Athens, New York. The facility is a combined-cycle plant using three Siemens 501G combustion-turbine generators.

    Bechtel delivered the construction project more than 200 days late, and sued New Athens for an additional $70 million for alleged changes in the plant’s Siemens 501G generators, severe winter weather, and other alleged delays, changes, and force majeure events.

    Our client New Athens denied liability for Bechtel’s claims and countersued for $33 million in liquidated damages on account of Bechtel’s completing the plant late.

    Because of the complexity of the case, the arbitrators divided the hearing into four phases, including extensive testimony on power-plant combustion-turbine engineering, construction scheduling, construction craft-labor productivity and ergonomics, meteorology/climatology, water chemistry, power industry economics, and construction cost accounting.

    The arbitration panel found Bechtel at fault for construction delays, including falling behind schedule from the start, delays from technology problems for which Bechtel had assumed responsibility in its EPC contract, Bechtel’s failure to satisfy water chemistry requirements, and Bechtel’s delayed installation of equipment, including some redesigned and re-procured late in the project due to Bechtel’s design errors.

    The contract had express, negotiated provisions for liquidated damages. In the arbitrators’ final judgment, Bechtel’s claims were defeated and New Athens was awarded liquidated damages of nearly $27 million.

    Lead attorney Judah Lifschitz observed: "It’s important to note that New Athens did not back down in the face of such large claims from one of the world’s largest contractors. In fact, New Athens’s decision to vigorously defend itself and its refusal to be intimidated by Bechtel’s large claims proved extremely wise."
  • In American Municipal Power (AMP) v. Bechtel Power Corp., Shapiro, Lifschitz and Schram represents AMP in litigation involving a multibillion-dollar EPC contract between AMP and Bechtel Power Corporation in connection with the AMPGS coal plant, which was to be constructed in Meigs County, Ohio.

    After providing and confirming an indicative estimate of $2.1 billion for the project and advising AMP to enter into multimillion-dollar contracts for the major plant equipment, Bechtel, several months later, raised its estimate to over $3 billion. AMP sued Bechtel for $97 million for wanton and reckless breach of the EPC contract. In a motion to dismiss, Bechtel argued that the contract’s limitation-of-liability clause insulated it from any liability in excess of $500,000.

    The U.S. District Court in Columbus, Ohio, denied Bechtel's motion to dismiss and agreed with AMP that “the limitation of liability clause cannot be enforced if AMP proves that [the contractor] acted willfully or wantonly recklessly, or with gross negligence.” The matter is now awaiting ruling on summary judgment. This case is likely to have important implications on EPC contracts and the viability of limitation-of-liability clauses in construction disputes involving EPC contracts and liability issues.
  • Represented a subcontractor in the construction of a combined-cycle plant in Albany, N.Y., in a suit with Bechtel Power Corp. in U.S. District Court in Denver, Colo. We resolved the multimillion-dollar dispute with a settlement found favorable by our client.
  • Represent a large Turkish contractor in a dispute with Bechtel International, Inc. over the construction of a U.S. military intelligence facility in Tbilisi, Georgia.
  • Represented the merchant owner of a combined-cycle plant near Albany, N.Y., faced with $40 million in construction claims. We developed a strategy and assisted the owner in negotiating a settlement and closeout of the project.
  • Represented National Energy & Gas Transmission, Inc. (NEGT) in a multimillion-dollar dispute with Babcock and Wilcox, which arose at the outset of a project to install scrubbers at the Brayton Point Power Station, a four-unit, 1,530-megawatt coal, natural gas, and fuel oil-fired facility in Somerset, Mass. We represented NEGT in a mediation concluding in a settlement found highly favorable by our client.
  • Represented National Energy & Gas Transmission, Inc. (NEGT) against a $20-million claim by a contractor responsible for the water treatment portion of the four-unit, 1,022-megawatt, combined-cycle power plant, La Paloma Generating Facility in California. We defended against the contractor’s claims and represented our client in a mediation, resulting in a settlement found very favorable by NEGT.
  • Provided representation and strategic advice to a California utility in disputes with the EPC contractor during construction of a combined-cycle generating station in Northern California.
  • Defended a California utility, in a retrofit of an existing power plant, against millions of dollars of claims by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM)/EPC contractor. We analyzed the claims, represented the client in arbitration, and ultimately successfully resolved the matter in mediation.
  • Represented the owner of an activated-carbon plant in Louisiana, in a major dispute over the plant’s design and construction. The owner and the EPC contractor had claims against each other for more than $50 million. As problems arose during the project, we represented the owner and provided legal and strategic advice. After reviewing and analyzing the claims on both sides, we represented the owner in a multisession mediation that resulted in a settlement found very favorable by our client.
  • For a solid-waste energy-conversion pilot plant at Walt Disney World in Florida, we represented the design-build contractor in connection with disputes relating to performance testing and substantial completion. Partly funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and owned by Disney subsidiary Reedy Creek Utilities Co., the plant also was testing the design of a radioactive-waste incinerator for the Idaho National Laboratory. The dispute was settled favorably.
  • Represent a major owner in the $1-billion construction of several U.S. hydroelectric plants.
  • Hired by a hedge fund to study claims that Florida Utility Energy had against the Enron Corporation, providing the hedge fund with analysis and advice on the claims.
  • Provided analysis and advice on EPC contracts for the construction of new technology facilities.
  • For a major utility, drafted procurement and EPC contract documents for a multibillion-dollar pipeline construction program.

For more information regarding Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram’s Power and Energy Practice, please contact Department Chair Judah (Judd) Lifschitz at

Did You Know . . .

Members of the SLS trial group have tried in excess of 50 jury trials and 75 bench trials?

The SLS construction group has worked on sports stadiums across the country including Orioles Park in Baltimore and Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati?

The SLS construction group has worked on power plant projects across the country?

In 2007 SLS was selected for an Honorable Mention as one of the Best Places To Work in Washington DC?

Ron Shapiro, Steve Schram and Judd Lifschitz have all been selected as SuperLawyers by Law and Politics?

The SLS office building is an historic townhouse constructed in the late 1800s?

SLS has been selected by Martindale-Hubbell as a Preeminent Law Firm?

SLS trial lawyers have argued appeals in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal for the 4th, 5th, 9th, D.C. and Federal Circuit?

SLS trial lawyers have been lead trial counsel in cases in Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia, - to name just a few?

Virtually all the cases that SLS trial lawyers mediated have been favorably settled at mediation?

The transactional group at SLS was lead counsel on one of the largest, most complex mixed-use projects in downtown Washington, DC involving 4 lenders and 6 property owners?

In appreciation for the outstanding efforts of each of its employees during 2007, SLS gave everyone (attorneys, paralegals, and staff) a 4 day/3 night expense paid trip to Key West, Florida?

The transactional group at SLS has represented tenants in more than 200 retail leases in the Mid-Atlantic region?

Every attorney in the transactional group at SLS has at least 15 years experience?

The transactional group at SLS has represented developers in the purchase, construction, financing and/or sale of more than 75 multi-family apartment projects?

The transactional group at SLS has represented real estate investors and developers with respect to property in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Michigan and the U.S. Virginia Islands?

Attorneys in the transactional group at SLS have represented eight national banks in commercial real estate loans?

Attorneys in the transactional group at SLS have represented the FDIC, the Resolution Trust Corporation and several banking institutions in loan workout transactions throughout the Mid-Atlantic region?

The transactional group at SLS has represented homebuilders and commercial real estate developers in work-outs of individual loans and also for work-outs of large portfolios involving dozens of properties in several states?

The trial lawyers of SLS have numerous reported decisions to their credit?