Richard “Rick” Welsh has served as lead trial, appellate, and arbitration counsel for well-known companies in their bet-the-company disputes in wide-ranging industries such as energy, finance, insurance, entertainment, alcohol, hospitality, real estate, video-gaming, and satellite. His cases have ranged from complex class actions to commercial contract and tort disputes throughout the United States, including in California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, New York, Texas, Virginia, Washington DC, and Wisconsin. In many of his cases, his teams have obtained dismissal, even where they replaced prior trial counsel well into high-stakes matters gone awry.
As a result of his high-profile representations and successes, Rick has been recognized as a stand-out lawyer by several prominent publications. The Daily Journal selected him as one of the “Top 20 Under 40” attorneys in California in 2010, highlighting his cutting-edge work in the energy and technology sectors. Law360.com recognized him as one of the top 10 energy lawyers under 40 nationwide in 2010, and he was the only trial lawyer on the list. Similarly, the Los Angeles Business Journal recognized his work in the energy and environmental sectors. In addition, Super Lawyers listed him as a “Rising Star” under 40 from 2006 to 2011.
Rick received his law degree from the University of California Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). He received the Boalt Hall Award for Excellence in Legal Writing and was on the National Mock Trial Team. He also earned several Honors and High Honors grades. He earned his B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of California Los Angeles, where he was an Alumni Scholar and Wasserman Scholar. He also received High Honors for his thesis on the drafting and ratification of the US Constitution.
Before college, Rick served as a noncommissioned officer (“NCO”) in the highly selective and demanding 75th Airborne Ranger Regiment, where he graduated from some of the army’s most difficult schools, earned numerous service awards, and set an endurance record in one of the Regiment’s most grueling tests of strength.
Rick continues to show his commitment to public service. He is very active in representing veterans pro bono and serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the GallantFew, which is a charitable organization devoted to assisting special operators who have issues associated with transitioning to civilian life. He also has lectured on appellate and trial advocacy at Loyola and UCLA law schools, and on climate change law, arbitration, and commercial dispute resolution tactics.
- California Public Utilities Comm’n v. Seller of Long Term Contracts, Shell Energy, et al: Represented as lead trial counsel Shell Energy before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in a $2-billion challenge to long-term energy contracts negotiated during the California energy crisis and Shell’s natural gas and electricity trading practices in the short-term markets. The matters are pending review before the FERC or on appeal.
- Village of Kivalina, et al. v. Exxon-Mobil Corp., et al.: Represented as lead counsel the AES Corporation, the world’s largest generator of electricity, as lead counsel in the Northern District of California in a high-profile action brought against several leading energy producers for $400 million in coastal property damage to an Alaska village allegedly caused by their greenhouse gas contributions to global warming. Obtained dismissal; affirmed by Ninth Circuit on appeal. Case reported on the front page of the New York Times.
- AES Redondo Beach LLC; Williams Power Co. v. City of Redondo Beach: Replaced prior counsel and represented AES as trial and appellate counsel in a dispute involving over $100 million in utility users tax (UUT) assessments covering the natural gas used by the plant to generate electricity. Obtained reversal of the city’s entire assessment.
- Direct Energy LP v. Buffalo Gap Wind Farms, LLC, et al,: Represented as lead counsel AES Wind subsidiaries, the Buffalo Gap Wind Farms, in a power purchase agreement dispute in Houston, Texas, concerning the right to over $30 million in lost power plant profits caused by transmission line congestion. Obtained favorable settlement.
- Buena Resources v. AES Southland: Represented AES as lead trial counsel in dispute over the demolition and salvage value of a utility scale power plant. Obtained summary adjudication of the largest claims and favorable settlement thereafter; secured payment of attorneys’ fee from contractor.
- BrightSource Energy v. PG&E: Replaced prior counsel and represented as lead arbitration counsel Abengoa Solar and BrightSource in a bet-the-project dispute with PG&E over a billion-dollar utility scale, solar thermal plant in Southern California, involving the construction of the remote facility and the design and regulation of the grid to ensure deliverability to load centers.
- Alta Wind, et al. v. EDP Renewables: Represented as lead counsel in the Eastern and Central Districts of California the world’s largest developer of wind electricity, Terra-Gen Power, in a contract and business tort dispute concerning the development of a portion of the world’s largest wind farm in the Tehachapi Valley, California. Shortly after intervening and seeking a preliminary injunction, the case settled on favorable terms.
- Terra-Gen Power v. SoCal Edison: Represented as lead trial and regulatory counsel before the FERC the developer and operator of the world’s largest wind farm in a dispute involving breach of contract and transmission line issues. Obtained favorable settlement.
- Terra-Gen Power v. SoCal Edison: Represented as lead counsel Terra-Gen in a dispute with an investor-owned utility over the terms of a power purchase agreement covering a geothermal plant. Obtained quick, favorable settlement.
- AWCC v. Oak Creek Power and ON Wind: Represent as lead counsel two Terra-Gen Power wind farm subsidiaries in lawsuit in Kern County, California, alleging violations of a royalty acquisition agreement.
- Represented NRG, First Wind, and other energy companies in confidential dispute resolution processes.
- Wendy Road v. TFX Aviation: Replaced prior counsel and represented as lead trial counsel in Ventura, California and Wilmington, Delaware, an international company partnered in a failed commercial real estate development in Southern California, involving complicated accounting and tax issues. Obtained complete defense verdict in California and Delaware and an award of attorneys’ fees and costs.
- Hotels Nevada v. L.A. Pacific: Represented real estate investor as trial counsel in a four-week trial in Los Angeles Superior Court in which plaintiff attempted to invalidate a property sale and arbitration agreement based on allegations of fraud relating to the sale of a Las Vegas hotel property worth over $260 million.
- Represented numerous lenders and landowners in real estate matters, ranging for loan defaults to easement disputes to environmental claims involving plaintiffs and state agencies.
- In the Matter of the Rehabilitation of Segregated Account of Ambac Assurance Corporation: Represented Goldman Sachs as lead litigation counsel in connection with The Weinstein Co.’s $500-million film finance agreement, which was embroiled in the largest insurance rehabilitation proceeding in U.S. history, in Dane County, Wisconsin. Obtained early favorable settlement.
- First California Bank v. Commerzbank, Spyglass Entertainment: Represented Commerzbank as lead counsel in breach of contract dispute in Los Angeles Superior Court involving a $275-million film finance deal governed by New York law. Obtained summary adjudication. Case reported in Law360.com.
- Nat’l Rural Telecommunications Coop., et al. v. DirecTV Inc., et al.: Represented DirecTV in the Central District of California in a complex contract, business tort, and unfair competition class action involving the distribution rights to the DirecTV service. Obtained summary adjudication on claims involving over $250 million in lost revenue, and, shortly thereafter, obtained favorable settlement. Case reported in the Wall Street Journal.
- Successfully represented leading aerospace provider, Boeing Satellite Systems, in an arbitration against a consortium of space insurers over a failed satellite.
- Successfully represented leading aerospace provider, Raytheon, as lead California arbitration counsel in a dispute involving a government contract for the development of a billion-plus dollar weather satellite.
- Crown Beverage v. Sierra Nevada Brewing: Represented as lead trial counsel in Reno, Nevada, in dispute concerning the termination of a distribution agreement in a franchise protected state. Obtained favorable settlement on eve of trial, which included full compensation of attorneys’ fees.
- Mission Beverage v. Pabst Brewing Co.: Represent Pabst as lead trial counsel in Los Angeles, California in an unlawful contract termination dispute. Case settled on favorable terms.
- Eidos Inc. v. Game Warehouse Inc.: Successfully represented as lead counsel a major videogame publisher, Eidos, in a two-week trial in San Mateo County, California, involving over $10 million in lost profit damages. Judgement in favor of Eidos on all claims and defenses, plus an award of attorneys’ fees.
Other Significant Representatives
- All American Telephone, Inc., et al. v. Qwest Communications, Inc., et al.: Replaced prior counsel and obtained summary judgment in Texas state court for Qwest telecommunications company on numerous common-law and statutory claims for over $25 million in lost enterprise value. Also obtained summary judgment on affirmative claims and attorneys’ fees.
- Crane Environmental, Inc. v. Edward Closuit, et al.: Successfully served as plaintiff’s counsel in a two-week trial involving noncompetition, intellectual property, and indemnity rights obtained in connection with the purchase of a business in Sarasota County Court and the 2nd District Court of Appeal, Florida.
- Represented as lead plaintiff’s counsel a New York hedge fund in AAA arbitration in California against leading food manufacture, Nutro, in a dispute over millions of dollars of emission reduction credits. Replaced prior counsel after an adverse merits ruling on an injunction motion and obtained favorable settlement fully vindicating client’s rights, plus attorneys’ fees.
- Represented successfully major energy company, satellite service provider, financial institutions, and various retailers in state and federal class actions.
- Rick is admitted to practice in California and Washington DC, and before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. District Courts for the Central, Eastern, Northern, and Southern Districts of California.