Energy – Oil & Gas Industry Representative Matters

  • Pursuing claims on behalf of a Houston-based drilling company for breach of fiduciary duty against its former attorney. The attorney overcharged for its services by marking up third-party expenses and misrepresenting the work performed in its billing statements.
  • Defending oilfield inspection company in an FLSA overtime lawsuit relating to the classification of its inspectors as exempt employees.
  • Represented oilfield equipment rental company in FLSA lawsuit alleging the company’s practice of paying its operator employees a salary plus a day rate and bonus failed to properly compensate non-exempt employees for overtime hours worked.
  • Obtained judgment of more than $9 million on behalf of entrepreneurs related to the sale of their valve company to a New York-based private equity firm. After the sale, the buyer asserted indemnification claims against the entrepreneurs based on pre-sale representations allegedly made by the entrepreneurs. In doing so, the buyer sought to avoid paying the bulk of the purchase price for the entrepreneurs’ company. On competing summary judgment motions, the New York Supreme Court – Commercial Division rejected the buyer’s claims (including claims for fraud, breach of contract, indemnification, and set-off) and granted the entrepreneurs’ affirmative claims for breach of the various promissory notes at issue. The New York Court also awarded attorney’s fees to the entrepreneurs.
  • Represented an oil and gas processing company in the sale of 44 acres of property along with related operating assets in Baytown, Texas, to a newly-formed portfolio company focused on purchasing and developing refined-products logistics and processing assets.
  • Represented a global downhole well intervention company in suit filed by drilling company after drilling tools became stuck in well. Drilling company sought damages for recovery expenses, contractual damages and lost revenue based on the allegation that client’s tool malfunctioned and caused the incident. Obtained a favorable settlement in which plaintiff dismissed its suit and client paid no damages.
  • Representing an employer to enforce a non-competition agreement against a former employee.
  • Assisted in representing Halliburton Energy Services in the Multidistrict Litigation arising out of the 2010 blowout of BP’s Macondo Well in the Gulf of Mexico. Served as the youngest member of the trial team that tried both cases in the matter.
  • Won a jury verdict for an independent oil and gas exploration company for damages to one of its production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. After a week-long trial, the jury awarded damages that were caused by another oil company’s crew boat running into the platform.
  • Won a multi-million dollar arbitration award on behalf of the owners of a software company against an oilfield services company who purchased their company. The claims and recovery related to misrepresentations made during negotiations and execution of a stock purchase agreement. After 15 days of evidence, the three-member panel ruled unanimously in favor of our client.
  • Represented foreign investors in the acquisition of a distributor of drilling and completion fluids with operations in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
  • Represented the owner of an oilfield motor and control center manufacturer and service center to private equity controlled integrated component manufacturer and industrial services company.
  • Represented an integrated supplier of downhole completion tools and services in the acquisition of a group of related precision machining businesses.
  • Represented the owner of a well stimulation equipment manufacturing business to a publicly-owned diversified manufacturer of oilfield equipment, including lease of environmentally impacted real estate.
  • Represented a diesel fuel blending and distribution terminal and related truck transportation operation in the restructure of outstanding indebtedness and equity ownership interests.
  • Represented purchaser in acquisition out of bankruptcy of petrochemical refinery, including vested rights for development of barge facilities.
  • Represented major integrated oil and gas company in lawsuit filed by employee due to injuries sustained in accident on a rig off the coast of Equatorial Guinea. Obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of client.
  • Represented major integrated oil and gas company in federal court suit stemming from damage to client’s pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico. Obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of client.
  • Represented major oil and gas services provider in lawsuit filed by employee due to serious burn injuries sustained in accident at natural gas processing plant. Obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of client.
  • Represented a Houston-based provider of mudlogging services in a sale of its U.S. and Brazil-based assets and its equity interests in 4 foreign subsidiaries (domiciled in Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and Malaysia) to a UK-based private equity fund.
  • Won a summary judgment on behalf of an independent geologist in a case brought by a working interest owner concerning acquisition and development of oil and gas leases. Claims included breach of contract, tortious interference with contractual relations and conspiracy. Plaintiff failed to consent to additional acreage under the Joint Operating Agreement and sued fellow working interest owners for almost $10 million in damages.
  • Won a summary judgment on behalf of an oil-field services company who was sued for allegedly misappropriating trade secrets from a competitor. When the client hired away the opposing side’s salesman it sued. Summary judgment was awarded when it was shown that the opposing side did not have a valid trade secret as a matter of law.
  • Settled partnership dispute—without legal action—over several months of heated negotiations. When client discovered his business partner had been running work through side-businesses, assisted client in terminating the relationship and successfully separating the assets of the entities held by the partners.
  • Represented the portfolio company of a national private equity fund in the strategic acquisition of several manufacturers of drilling tools and perforation equipment.
  • Represented a Midland, Texas-based company in the sale of their minority interest in an international pipeline composite liner manufacturer.
  • Represented oil and gas technology company in its recapitalization with existing investors.
  • Represented a private company in its acquisition of an oil and gas services company.
  • Represented United Kingdom-based private equity group in its acquisition of substantially all of the assets of a Houston-based oil and gas services company.
  • Represented parts distributor in the sale of substantially all of its assets.
  • Successfully represented offshore safety compliance company in arbitration stemming from damage to platform sustained in transit from Asia to the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Represented dredging company in suit filed by employee due to injuries sustained while working on a pontoon boat. Obtained dismissal of suit based on forum selection clause in employment contract. Dismissal was then upheld on appeal.
  • Represented major integrated oil and gas company in federal court seeking recovery for extensive damage to offshore oil exploration platform after being struck by a fishing boat in the Gulf of Mexico. Client sought recovery for physical damage to platform and resulting downtime while platform was repaired. Obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of client.
  • Successfully first-chaired a trial in federal court on behalf of international shipping company stemming from crane accident and resulting damage to shipping container at the Port of Houston.
  • Represented a manufacturer of frac and mud pumps utilized in the oilfield in breach of contract and fraudulent inducement action against company providing engineering and design support of equipment. Obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of client.
  • Represented refinery services company that sells proprietary products and services to petroleum and chemical refineries globally in a lawsuit against a group of contractors that misappropriated our client’s proprietary products and services. After successfully securing discovery from refineries in foreign countries confirming the facts supporting our client’s claims, the matter settled with our client receiving every dollar of lost sales and effectively ending the former contractors’ attempts to establish a competing company.
  • Represented a world leader in premium insulation coatings against a former distributor based on claims for breach of a written distributor agreement, as well as claims for breach of oral agreements or, alternatively, quasi-contractual claims such as promissory estoppel and unjust enrichment. Following written discovery and depositions of the named parties, certain third-parties, and experts, both parties moved for summary judgment – we moved on all of plaintiff’s claims and plaintiff moved solely on liability for its contractual claims. With the summary judgment motions pending, the matter settled on confidential terms.
  • Successfully obtained Temporary Injunction and Permanent Injunction on behalf of client against former employee. The client was a refinery maintenance contractor who brought suit alleging the former employee breached non-compete and non-solicitation covenants, and the former employee asserted counterclaims for damages arising out of termination of employment. After securing a Temporary Injunction that prohibited the former employee from competing and soliciting clients, the matter ultimately settled with entry of Permanent Injunction and no payment to employee for alleged damages.
  • Defended clients operating a start-up oil field services company in a lawsuit brought by an established competitor alleging claims against our clients for misappropriation of trade secrets, breach fiduciary duty, and conspiracy and seeking to completely shut down our clients’ business. After a six day temporary injunction trial, the lawsuit settled on terms that allowed our clients to continue their business in competition with former employer.
  • Represented supplier of oilfield steel for use in the oil and gas industry in a lawsuit brought by a competitor alleging a former employee provided our client (his new employer) with confidential customer lists, vendor contact information and sales data owned by his former employer. Successfully obtained transfer of lawsuit from United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to the Southern District of Texas based on argument that Texas was a more convenient forum as the location of material events, the residence of defendants and most potential non-party witnesses, as well as the relative interests of justice.
  • On behalf of oilfield services client, drafted compelling motions for summary judgment in two catastrophic personal injury cases, putting pressure on the opposite side and resulting in a highly favorable settlement with plaintiffs.
  • Represented oil and gas clients in connection with various actions to quiet title and/or address notices of lis pendens, including suits against groups of mineral royalty owners.
  • Advised oil and gas producer client in connection with dispute about joint operating agreement, resulting in successful appeal before the Texas Fourteenth Court of Appeals. Critical to the success of the case was a well-reasoned interpretation of the AMI (“Area of Mutual Interest”) provision of the parties’ Joint Operating Agreement.
  • When a crude oil production company was threatened with an increased rate in violation of its transportation agreement with a pipeline company, Lauren intervened on its behalf. The pressure she put on the pipeline company, efforts which included seeking injunctive relief restraining the rate hike, triggered a favorable resolution of the dispute. The dispute implicated both Texas contract law and FERC energy regulations.
  • Represented manufacturer of oilfield machinery in lawsuit against major software company, where the manufacturer asserted claims for breach of contract and fraud. The dispute arose out of an unsuccessful SAP implementation and the software company’s breach of the parties’ Statement of Work. Lauren’s involvement began with pleadings and discovery, implicated intensive preparation with both fact and expert witnesses for depositions and trial testimony, continued through an aggressive dispositive motions phase, and culminated in a three-week jury trial. Achieved $29.8 million jury verdict as chair in that trial.
  • Successfully negotiated resolution of complex, multi-million dollar dispute involving production of steel rig kits for use in offshore jack-up drilling rig application as between overseas steel mill, Houston-based steel fabricator, and offshore drilling systems provider in Mississippi.
  • Representing supplier of oilfield steel for use in the oil and gas industry in a lawsuit brought by a competitor alleging a former employee provided our client (his new employer) with confidential customer lists, vendor contact information and sales data owned by his former employer. Successfully obtained transfer of lawsuit from United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to the Southern District of Texas based on argument that Texas was a more convenient forum as the location of material events, the residence of defendants and most potential non-party witnesses, as well as the relative interests of justice.
  • Won a $2.66 million jury verdict for a former partner of a Houston-based engineering company arising out of a dispute related to a written shareholders’ agreement.  The defendants claimed that our client had made misrepresentations related to his educational qualifications which fraudulently induced them into making him an offer to become a shareholder in the company which they otherwise would not have made.  In an 11-1 verdict, the jury found that the defendants breached their contract with their partner and that the conduct of the defendants in their handling of the partnership dispute constituted minority shareholder oppression.
  • Successfully first-chaired a trial in Fort Bend County representing an energy services company against two former employees who brought suit based on breach of contract and libel theories following termination of their employment.  At trial, we argued that the company fully and justifiably adhered to its company policies in terminating the individuals’ employment due to their gross misconduct in disclosing confidential company information and being dishonest to their employer.  The plaintiffs’ pre-trial settlement demand exceeded $525,000.00, while the Court ruled following trial that the plaintiffs shall be entitled to less than 10% of that amount (with one plaintiff being awarded nothing).  We were also able to succeed in proving an affirmative breach of contract claim against that plaintiff, forcing him to pay his former employer in excess of $35,000.00.
  • Member of the trial team representing employees of Wellbore Energy Solutions, LLC, a subsidiary of Halliburton Company, against M-I L.L.C., a subsidiary of Schlumberger Limited, in a trade secret, covenant not to compete and tortious interference dispute in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas (M-I L.L.C. v. Chad Lee Stelly, et al., C.A. 4:09-CV-01552) involving completion tools for oil and gas wells.
  • Represented a Houston-based entrepreneur in connection with the strategic restructure of personal investments in 60+ entities involving land development, retail, private equity, specialty finance, oil and gas, industrial and build-to-suit.
  • Represented an oil field equipment company in connection with private equity investments and financing transactions.
  • Represented a Woodlands-based company in the acquisition of an oilfield services company based in the South Texas Eagle Ford Shale Formation.
  • Represented a Houston-based supplier of industrial gas cylinders and welder’s supply materials in its sale to a NYSE-listed, global Fortune 300 company.
  • Represented a West-Texas oilfield services provider operating throughout the Permian Basin in a $34 million majority recapitalization by a Houston-based private equity fund.
  • Represented a Woodlands-based oilfield services company in negotiation of its $80 million syndicated credit facility with Comerica Bank.
  • Represented a Houston-based provider of deep- and shallow -water connector solutions to the subsea pipeline industry in its $42.5 million sale of to a subsidiary of a NYSE-listed oilfield services company.
  • Advised an oil and gas industry consortium in connection with the application of the U.S. Export Administration Regulations to the consortium’s data-reporting protocols.
  • Represented a client in connection with establishing a trading office in Indonesia to promote its oil-field services products.
  • Represented the seller in a $38 million sale of a natural gas marketing company.
  • Represented C&J Cladding LLC, a Houston-based leader in providing technical welding solutions and post weld heat treatment services to global oilfield equipment manufacturers, in connection with the sale of its business and assets to Ellwood Group Inc., a Pennsylvania-based manufacturer and supplier of high-quality, engineered, heavy metal products.
  • Pursued claims on behalf of an Oklahoma-based company that sells and rents frac water transfer equipment. Two former employees solicited the company’s customers and used their resources to start a competing business while still employed by the company.
  • Successfully defended a Texas-based drilling rig manufacturer in a lawsuit by a drilling rig purchaser. The purchaser claimed the manufacturer breached a rig construction contract and tortiously interfered with its contract with a drilling operator. The purchaser sought approximately $25 million for the cost of repairing the rig and lost profits. The case settled for a fraction of that amount on the eve of picking a jury.
  • Represented a minority shareholder in a shareholder oppression and breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit alleging that minority shareholder was forced out of his position with the company and was denied his rights as a shareholder. The matter raised unique issues under Texas law concerning duties and obligations between owners of a closely held corporation. The matter ultimately settled for a confidential amount.
  • Represented a refinery service contractor in a breach of contract matter arising out of allegations that equipment manufacturer failed to deliver equipment in a timely manner and delivered equipment that did not conform to the requirements of the agreement. This matter centered on the interpretation of Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code dealing with delivery of goods, nonconforming goods, and lost profits as damages. The matter ultimately settled on confidential terms.
  • Represented an offshore drilling service company in a proceeding brought by former employee claiming race discrimination based on the employer’s alleged failure to provide the employee with the same employment opportunities it provided to other employees outside the protected class. This lawsuit raised unique issues regarding the employer’s obligation to provide offshore work opportunities where it was also providing onshore work.
  • Represented international engineering/manufacturing company in connection with $240,000,000 contract for manufacture and international sale of three offshore platform drilling rigs; additional representation in connection with confidentiality/non-disclosure agreements, non-competes, employment contracts, executive compensation agreements and providing litigation support in connection with intellectual property and shipping/transportation disputes.
  • Represented the shareholders of a Houston-based international supply company to the oil and gas industry in connection with the sale of their shares to a New York-based private equity group for approximately $28 million, including equity interests in the acquiring company.
  • Represented a Texas-based mezzanine financing fund in the corporate restructuring of its portfolio company which included amended senior and subordinated debt facilities and the purchase and financing of mobile servicing oil rigs.
  • Represented an enhanced oil recovery technology company in connection with private equity investments and capital formation.
  • Represented a start-up hydrocarbon remediation company in connection with its formation, capitalization and international legal structuring for the purpose of international commercialization of new remediation technology.
  • Ongoing representation of a Mauritius based company in connection with its international expansion strategy for distribution of specialized software for oil and gas well analysis.
  • Represented a landfill gas construction and drilling company in the sale of the business to Aperion Capital, a New York based private equity fund.
  • Represented an international supplier of electronic sub-sea equipment against a foreign construction and engineering service support provider. Successfully obtained summary judgment of approximately $225 thousand against the opposing party in actual damages and attorney fees.
  • Experience representing various oilfield services companies in the negotiation and drafting of Master Services Agreements.
  • Represented a UK-based client in their acquisition of an oil and gas service company in California.
  • Acted as U.S. counsel for a UK-based client in connection with the acquisition of an international company supplying rental equipment to the oilfield.
  • Represented Blackhawk Specialty Tools, LLC, an oilfield services company headquartered in Houma, Louisiana, in connection with a private equity investment made by Rock Hill Capital Group.
  • Represented an offshore drilling equipment manufacturer and supplier based in Jakarta, Singapore and Houston in the reorganization of its capital structure, including a $15 million capital infusion by a private equity group.
  • Represented a major oil and gas company in a breach of joint venture claim. The joint venture related to a fractionation facility and the joint venture partner’s failure to properly allocate funds. Two days after the opposing side answered the lawsuit filed on behalf of the client a settlement was reached which gave the client 100% of the relief requested in the petition.
  • Settled a fraud and RICO dispute on behalf of a small gas marketing company in a case brought by the majority owner of a gas trading company. Plaintiff originally sought in excess of $70 million in damages, alleging fraudulent gas trading and financial derivative transactions, but settled on very favorable terms for client prior to trial.
  • Successfully defended a major oil and gas company against claims of tortious interference with prospective contractual relations in a case concerning a potential merger transaction. Plaintiff sought damages of approximately $65 million plus exemplary damages. However, after a week of trial plaintiffs settled for less than 5% of that amount with the client not responsible for paying any of the settlement amount.
  • Represented a U.S.-based oilfield services company in connection with operations in Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Mexico and South America.
  • Represented a Texas-based oilfield services company in connection with investments in manufacturing facilities in Taiwan and America Samoa.
  • Represented the shareholders of a Houston-based oilfield services company in a sale to a private equity firm for $30 million plus shares of stock in the acquiring company.
  • Represented an Odessa, Texas-based specialty tubular threading company in connection with its sale to NS Group, Inc. for $125 million.
  • Represented the shareholders of a Houston-based international supply company to the oil and gas industry in connection with the sale of their shares to a New York-based private equity group for approximately $28 million, including equity interests in the acquiring company.
  • Represented Managed Pressure Operations, a developer of next generation technology for offshore managed pressure drilling systems for the oil and gas industry with subsidiaries in Houston, Singapore, Jakarta and Dubai, in the reorganization of its capital structure, including a $15 million capital infusion by a private equity group and its later acquisition by an affiliate of Aker Solutions.

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