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Case 19-3652 - Motion to hold case in abeyance for 60 days

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The DOE may be preparing to withdraw its defense in the litigation regarding General Service Lamps based on this recent motion to hold the case in abeyance for 60 days pending the outcome of a new internal review of the original Final Rules.

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Matt Bowgren's picture
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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Apr 8, 2021

Does an action like this, pulling the litigation defense with a new Administration in office, have precedence in these type of EE measures, or is this a first? 

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Matt Bowgren on Apr 10, 2021

A motion to hold a proceeding in abeyance can happen for any number of reasons. What may be a first here is that in a transition of administration there is a swift presidential order that essentially says, "We don't like what they did and we're going to re-evaluate (i.e. determine what we can legally overturn)." The petitioner is completely okay with it because they believe they understand the trajectory of the process and that putting a pause on the case will produce a better, faster outcome than proceeding. The reality is that the case was moving slowly anyhow - they haven't scheduled oral arguments yet, so a 60-day hold doesn't change the timeline of the case all that much, but it does allow for the chance of a faster outcome without the additional risk or expense of oral arguments and putting it to a decision from a judge. The petitioners could have objected to the motion and the judge may have not granted the abeyance. Without an order from a judge, however, they may have to undo a few procedural restrictions put in place in order to change their position (you'll see them start that process on Monday, 4/12). If they flip-flop illegally, it's just as possible that an organization supporting the previous changes files a petition to challenge the DOE for not following procedure.

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Matt Chester on Apr 12, 2021

Thanks for the follow up, Matt. So interesting to see how the judicial system plays into this-- not sure that was foreseen back in the days of EISA 1992, but compelling to watch it play out today. 

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