John N. Estes III

John N. Estes III


Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Recognized since 2006

Washington, District of Columbia

Practice Areas

Energy Law

Energy Regulatory Law

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John Estes, a partner with Skadden’s Energy Regulation and Litigation Group, focuses on FERC enforcement and litigation at the agency and on judicial review. He has defended a majority of the FERC enforcement cases involving market manipulation allegations that have become public, including Barclays Bank PLC (the first case to go to federal district court), JP Morgan Ventures Energy Corp., DB Energy Trading, LLC, Rumford Paper Company and two defendants in the PJM “up-to congestion” case. He was involved in five of the eight investigations listed as “Significant Matters” in FERC’s 2013 Report on Enforcement. He previously defended Energy Transfer Partners, one of the first FERC market manipulation cases, which settled on favorable terms on the eve of trial. He also defended H.Q. (United States) in the first complaint case claiming market manipulation. And he has navigated many nonpublic FERC enforcement cases to conclusion without sanction.

In addition, Mr. Estes often has played a lead role in complex FERC cases at trial, typically involving market design, market power or market manipulation issues in organized electric markets. Representative FERC trials include:

  • Dynegy in the first two trials in the protracted and highly complex “California Refund Case,” and Aquila and Illinova in the third trial in that case;
  • a large coalition of generators in the bitterly fought New England “LICAP” case involving capacity markets;
  • Exelon in groundbreaking litigation involving whether FERC should exempt AEP from certain state laws that were preventing AEP from joining PJM; and
  • Dynegy and NRG in the “California Long-Term Contract Case.”

    Mr. Estes also has an active appellate practice. He has argued 25 cases in the United States Courts of Appeals (12 in the D.C. Circuit, and others in the First, Third, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth and Tenth Circuits).

    Mr. Estes has been ranked in the top tier each year since 2005 in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business. He also has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America and The Legal 500 U.S. In addition, Mr. Estes has been named as a leading energy appellate lawyer nationwide and in the D.C. Circuit in Benchmark Litigation.

    Oral Arguments, Briefs and Pleadings

    Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Fifth Cir. Case Nos. 08-60730 and 08-60810 (Mar. 2, 2009) (Oral Argument)

    Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and New England Power Pool Participants, D.C. Cir. Case Nos. 07-1460 and 08-1175 (Sept. 2, 2008) (Intervenors’ Brief)

    DC Energy v. LLC H.Q. Energy Services (U.S.) Inc., FERC Docket No. EL07-67-000 (Aug. 31, 2007) (Answer to Complaint)

    DC Energy, LLC v. H.Q. Energy Services (U.S.) Inc.,FERC Docket No. EL07-67-000 (July 23, 2007) (Answer)

    Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Fifth Cir. Case Nos. 08-60730 and 08-60810 (Dec. 19, 2008) (Petitioners’ Opening Brief)

    Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Fifth Cir. Case Nos. 08-60730 and 08-60810 (Feb. 9, 2008) (Petitioners’ Reply Brief)

    Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC Docket No. IN06-3-002 (Oct. 9, 2007) (Answer to Show Cause Order)

    Maine Public Utilities Commission v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, D.C. Cir. Case Nos. 06-1403, 06-1427 and 07-1193 (Aug. 11, 2008) (Request for Rehearing or Rehearing En Banc)

    Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc., v. Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County, Washington and Calpine Energy Services, L.P. v. Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County, Washington, S. Ct. Case Nos. 06-1457 and 06-1462 (Nov. 2007) (Economists'amicus brief in support of contract enforcement under Mobile-Sierra doctrine)

    NRG Power Marketing, LLC v. Maine Public Utilities Commission, S. Ct. Case No. 08-674 (July 7, 2009) (Brief for Petitioners)

    NRG Power Marketing, LLC. v. Maine Public Utilities Commission S. Ct. Case No. 08-674 (Dec. 22, 2008) (Petition for a Writ of Certiorari)

    NRG Power Marketing, LLC v. Maine Public Utilities Commission, S. Ct. Case No.08-674 (April 2, 2009) (Petitioners' Reply Brief)

    Public Service Electric & Gas Company v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, D.C. Cir. Case Nos. 07-1336. 07-1414 and 08-1008 (Oct. 10, 2008) (Intervenors’ Brief)

Location

  • 1440 New York Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20005

Education

  • Tulane University, BA

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia, The District of Columbia Bar

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2022 for work in:

  • Energy Law
  • Energy Regulatory Law

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