December 2011 — Bingham represented Kleen Energy Systems following a deadly construction explosion in February 2010 that killed six workers, injured many others and damaged property up to 10 miles away due to the sonic blast. The Kleen project is a 620 MW natural gas-fired power plant located in Middletown, Conn., and is owned indirectly by private equity funds managed by long-term Bingham client Energy Investors Funds. Construction of the project was nearly 90 percent complete when a catastrophic explosion occurred at the project site during a pipe purging operation. Most industry experts questioned whether the project would ever be rebuilt, and the bulk of the project’s lenders turned the project over to their restructuring teams, anticipating years of insurance and construction disputes and litigation. Criminal and civil investigations were conducted by multiple entities at the federal, state and local levels, including OSHA, the federal Chemical Safety Board, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, Connecticut state’s attorney and two governor-appointed commissions. Numerous lawsuits were also filed against Kleen and the general contractor of the project.
Bingham played a leading role in handling the multiple cascading issues stemming from this incident, including crisis management and communications, lender and debt issue resolution, construction and energy contracts issues, criminal and regulatory investigation and defense, insurance coverage and disbursement issues, congressional hearings, investor relations, and warranty issues, all of which helped facilitate the successful reconstruction of the project only 18 months following the explosion. The team was able to resolve high-profile and highly complicated multidisciplinary issues, allowing the project to be rebuilt and successfully achieve commercial operation in July 2011 with no criminal charges or administrative fines levied against Kleen’s owners. Bingham’s team for this matter included partners Marc Reardon, Mark Robinson and Bob McDonnell; counsel Bill Squires; and associates Lisa Kirby Haines and Alison Eggers.