The U.S. Supreme Court could announce a decision next Monday on the final appeal petition tied to the Washington Public Power Supply System federal bond fraud case.

The high court is considering a petition from the Hoffer group, which comprises the last bondholders to oppose certain out-of-court settlements in the case.

The Hoffer group, which pursued a lawsuit against Washington State over the $2.25 WPPSS nuclear power projects 4 and 5 default in 1983, argues that its suit was improperly snuffed out as part of a settlement package that brought massive federal litigation to a close almost four years ago.

The settlements generated almost $900 million of funds. Lawyers for class action members in the federal litigation want the presiding judge in the trial, U.S. District Court Judge William Browning of Tucson, to approve a partial settlement distribution of about $500 million, while holding the balance in reserve temporarily to cover certain contingencies.

But Browning has said he wants to see how the high court handles the Hoffer petition before deciding whether to approve a settlement distribution. If the high court declines to hear the Hoffer petition, some lawyers said an initial distribution of settlement funds may occur in November.

The high court had been expected to announce a decision on the Hoffer petition on Oct. 13. Occasionally, however, the justices do not act on cases appearing on a list for immediate consideration.

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