DOVER, Del. (AP) — A Delaware judge has temporarily halted a Duke Energy shareholder lawsuit prompted by a massive coal ash spill in North Carolina to give the company time to address related lawsuits and regulatory actions.
Duke Energy agreed in February to settle a criminal investigation into last year’s spill for $102 million. In May, it asked for a six-month halt in the shareholder lawsuit while it finalized the criminal settlement and addressed other lawsuits.
The judge this week delayed the shareholder lawsuit until Nov. 15, saying that having to simultaneously deal with Clean Water Act lawsuits and regulatory enforcement actions would prejudice the company.
The shareholder suit accuses Duke Energy officers and directors of allowing the company to repeatedly violate environmental laws, exposing it to hundreds of millions of dollars in liabilities.
A Duke Energy spokesman said Tuesday that company directors and senior managers were actively engaged in coal ash management and oversight before the Dan River spill.