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POWER FIRM MUST PAY $5.3 MILLION IN LEGAL FEES

SHARE POWER FIRM MUST PAY $5.3 MILLION IN LEGAL FEES

District Judge Earle White ordered Nevada Power Co. Tuesday to pay an estimated $5.3 million in legal fees amassed by more than a half dozen firms that won dismissal of a suit filed by the utility.

Power company attorney Roger McPike told the court the utility would post the necessary bond to appeal the case to the Nevada Supreme Court. Pending appeal, White delayed enforcement of the order directing Nevada Power Co. to pay the legal fees.A court spokesman said the utility and the California Department of Water Resources had arranged to post a $6 million bond to cover the judgment in case the Supreme Court refused to overturn White's ruling. California Department of Water Resources was involved in the litigation because the agency funded part of the Nevada Power Co. installation at a Moapa, Nev., substation in exchange for a share of the electricity.

Nevada Power Co. filed suit against eight firms beginning in 1986 in an attempt to recover $15 million for construction of a concrete cooling tower at the Reid Gardner Power Station in Moapa. The utility company suit said the tower began deteriorating because it was structurally unsound and built of substandard construction materials.

White dismissed the suit on grounds Nevada Power Co. demolished the concrete tower, which was replaced with a redwood tower, before all litigants had an opportunity to gather evidence and complete pre-trial discovery. White said demolition of the cooling towers violated previous court orders.