Indiana Utility Law and Indiana Water Utility Law: Bridges v. Veolia Water Indianapolis, LLC, 978 N.E.2d 447 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012)
An Indiana appellate court recently affirmed a trial court’s decision to dismiss a plaintiff’s complaint for damages, attorney’s fees and an injunction for lack of jurisdiction and the plaintiff’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies prior to filing suit.
In Bridges v. Veolia Water Indianapolis, LLC, 978 N.E.2d 447 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012), Veolia turned off Bridges’ water for nonpayment. Bridges then attempted to file a class action lawsuit for breach of contract, seeking a return of her $25 reconnection fee, other unspecified damages, attorney’s fees, and an injunction. Veolia is an independent contractor that managed and operated water treatment and distribution facilities owned by the Department of Waterworks. It moved to dismiss Bridges’ complaint and argued that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the matter because she failed to exhaust the administrative remedies available to her at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (“IURC”). The trial court agreed with Veolia and dismissed the complaint for those reasons. Bridges then appealed.