Conneaut wind turbine case comes to an end

Conneaut wind turbine case comes to an end

    

JEFFERSON — After more than a decade, a lawsuit focusing on a wind turbine in Conneaut is finished.

According to court records, NexGen Energy Partners’ case against Reflecting Blue Technologies was dismissed with prejudice, meaning that it cannot be brought again, and parties in the case are responsible for their own costs.

The ruling caps of just over a decade of legal fighting over a wind turbine adjacent to Conneaut Middle School. In 2009, the district signed a 10-year contract with NexGen, who installed and operated the turbine. The turbine was installed around the start of 2010, and issues with the turbine started soon after.

In March of 2011, NexGen filed suit against the turbine manufacturer, seeking $12 million from the defendants. The case briefly went to trial in early 2020, before being canceled due to continuing disputes over documents.

David Bertsch, one of the attorneys for the defense, said the case was settled, and $1 million would be paid to the plaintiffs. The settlement was straightforward, he said. Bertsch said he was surprised and pleased by the settlement.

Bertsch praised Judge Marianne Sezon, who has been presiding over the case since 2015, according to court records.

“She kind of grabbed the bull by the horns,” he said.

Brad Barmen, attorney for the plaintiff, said he was glad to have the case resolved.

“It was pending for over a decade, so a resolution, we think, is in everyones best interest, so we can just put the matter behind us and move forward,” he said.

The turbine at the Middle School was removed by Barmen’s client, he said.

“Once we had an agreement to resolve the case, there was no sense to preserve it,” Barmen said.

They did not want to remove the turbine while the case was still pending, he said.

“A closed case is a good case,” Barmen said. “My client is satisfied.”

NexGen also operated a wind turbine adjacent to Conneaut’s wastewater treatment plant. That turbine was struck by lightning in February 2017. One of the turbine’s blades was destroyed in the lightning strike, and its internal machinery was heavily damaged, officials said in the past.

Eventually, the city received ownership of the turbine in the harbor and it was demolished in 2020.

According to NexGen’s website, the company’s remaining wind and solar projects have been taken over by Oregon, Ohio-based PowerGrid Partners.

Conneaut Area City Schools Superintendent Lori Riley could not be reached for comment.

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