RICK BECKNER is co-leader of the Telecom and Internet Competition practice, which was named a “Telecommunications Group of the Year” by Law360 in 2019. A former Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice, Rick represents companies in regulated industries in a range of complex litigation and appellate matters before federal agencies, federal district courts, courts of appeals and the United States Supreme Court. He also has experience handling competition-related administrative and merger proceedings before federal agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Department of Justice.
Rick has represented AT&T in a broad range of telecommunications matters, including those involving “net neutrality” regulation, access charge rates, and wireless service, as well as numerous merger proceedings. Rick has drafted pleadings in these areas before the FCC, the courts of appeal and the Supreme Court.
Rick’s representative appellate matters include:
- HollyFrontier Cheyenne Refining, LLC, et al. v. Renewable Fuels Association et al. 141 S. Ct. 2172 (2021). Successfully represented HollyFrontier Cheyenne Refining before the Supreme Court in high-profile case involving the requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standards. The Supreme Court reversed the Tenth Circuit’s decision vacating the small refinery exemptions that had been granted to Holly Frontier.
- Represented the National Council For Adoption (NCFA) in a pro bono victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Reversing the district court, the D.C. Circuit unanimously found that NCFA had associational standing and vacated the State Department “guidance” that prohibited adoption practices commonly used to advocate for hard-to-adopt children.
- Environmental Defense Fund v. EPA, 922 F.3d 446 (D.C. Cir. 2019). Successfully represented a number of major trade associations acting as intervenors in support of the EPA in the first challenge to the EPA’s revised rules implementing the Toxic Substances Control Act.
- United States. AT&T. Inc., 916 F,3d 1029 (D.C. Cir. 2019). Representing AT&T in the government’s appeal of the district court decision allowing AT&T to merge with Time Warner. The Wall Street Journal observed that this decision “cemented one of the biggest losses for the Justice Department’s antitrust division in a generation.”
- Citizens Telecomms. Co. of Minn. v. FCC, 901 F.3d 991 (8th Cir. 2018). Representing intervenors, successfully defended FCC Order that reformed regulation of business data services provided by incumbent telephone carriers.
- Chamber of Commerce v. EPA, No. 577 U.S. 1127 (2016). Representing the nation’s leading business trade associations, Sidley successfully obtained an unprecedented stay of the sweeping rules that the Environmental Protection Agency issued to regulate greenhouse gases by power plants.
- Texas v. EPA, 829 F.3d 405 (5th Cir. 2016). Representing a coalition of Texas business associations and the Chamber of Commerce, Sidley successfully supported the lawsuits filed by the State of Texas and a Texas-based utility to obtain a stay of a rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency that would have imposed substantial emission reduction obligations under the agency’s “regional haze” program.
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission v. Electric Power Supply Ass’n, 136 S. Ct. 760 (2016): Representing petitioners, Sidley successfully overturned a decision by the D.C. Circuit holding that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has lacked under the Federal Power Act to regulate the compensation that regional transmission operators pay for demand response services and that held that FERC’s compensation standard was unlawful.
- EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, 686 F.3d 7 (D.C. Cir. 2012). Assisted Luminant Generation Company in obtaining a favorable decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that The Washington Post described as “a major victory for utilities and business groups.”
- Medicines Company v. Kappos, 462 F. App’x 974 (Fed. Cir. 2012), 731 F. Supp. 2d 470 (E.D. Va. 2010), 699 F. Supp. 2d 804 (E.D. Va. 2010). Assisted Medicines Company (MDCO) in prevailing in a long-running challenge to a Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) denial for a patent extension for the company’s anti-coagulant, Angiomax®.
- United States v. Cinergy Corp., 623 F.3d 455 (7th Cir. Oct. 12, 2010). Assisted Cinergy (a subsidiary of Duke Energy) in prevailing in a long-running enforcement suit brought by the EPA, which had sued Cinergy under the New Source Review provisions of the Clean Air Act (CAA), claiming that over 50 like-kind replacement projects at Cinergy’s coal-fired power plants in Indiana and Ohio violated the CAA.
- Flying J Inc. v. FERC, 363 F.3d 495 (D.C. Cir. 2004) and Ass’n of Oil Pipe Lines v. FERC, 281 F.3d 239 (D.C. Cir. 2002). Successfully argued on behalf of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines in two appeals concerning the five-year oil pipeline pricing index adopted by FERC.
While at the Department of Justice, Rick was responsible for overseeing the Torts Branch, handling complex torts actions against the United States and senior federal officials in a range of areas, including national security and constitutional tort cases, and cases arising out of the environmental, immigration, law enforcement aviation and admiralty contexts. He also oversaw the DOJ’s Office of Consumer Litigation, responsible for both civil and criminal enforcement in federal court of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Consumer Product Safety Act, and other similar statutes. As a Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Rick argued a number of cases involving national security issues, sovereign immunity, constitutional law, admiralty law and mass torts.
Rick is recognized by Benchmark Appellate (2013) as a D.C. Circuit Litigation Star, and is regularly recommended by The Legal 500.