McKool Smith’s trial lawyers have productive, longstanding relationships with a wide range of participants in the energy sector. While we work toward early resolution of disputes whenever possible, we stand ready to vigorously represent our clients in jury trials, bench trials, arbitration proceedings, and government investigations. Armed with a thorough knowledge of the energy industry’s specific business considerations and complex regulatory environment, our lawyers handle a broad range of energy-related disputes of domestic and international origin, involving the upstream, midstream, downstream and oil field sectors of the oil and gas industry, including LNG and marketing and trading of commodities, and the power generation, distribution, and sale sector, including renewables and co-generation. Our lawyers also routinely represent energy companies in bankruptcy-related matters. We have litigated across the United States and around the world in both federal and state courts and in arbitration proceedings, sometimes in parallel with regulatory proceedings.
Our attorneys' energy-related litigation experience includes the following matters, among others:
- Sempra. Obtained a jury verdict on behalf of San Diego-based Sempra Generation following a four-week jury trial in a case challenging Sempra’s $6.6 billion energy supply contract with the California Department of Water Resources (“DWR”). Our lawyers also successfully defended Sempra in two AAA arbitration proceedings challenging the interpretation and implementation of Sempra’s contract with DWR.
- Alcoa. Representation of Alcoa Power Generating, Inc. as lead trial counsel in successfully defending against a suit filed by the State of North Carolina seeking ownership rights to submerged land and four hydropower dams that are built along the Yadkin River.
- Halliburton Oil Spill Litigation. Represented Halliburton and Sperry Sun, with focus on the development of expert and technical matters, in the MDL litigation related to the Macondo/Deepwater Horizon blowout. The case is currently pending in the Eastern District of Louisiana.
- Apache Corporation. Successfully defended Apache Corporation in a class action brought by 30,000 royalty owners in Texas and New Mexico; the court denied the class action and then the case settled for a few pennies on the dollar.
- Apache Corporation. Successfully defended Apache Corporation in two consolidated lawsuits regarding gas supply issues in Western Australia; obtained dismissals on the ground of forum non conveniens.
- Gulf South Pipeline Company. Represented Gulf South Pipeline in an internal investigation concerning potential violations of the Natural Gas Pipeline Act.
- Chevron Corporation. Representation of Chevron in obtaining a multi-million dollar judgment against Shell Oil Company in a breach of contract case relating to rate charges for a refined petroleum products pipeline.
- Independent Crude Oil and Gas Producers. Representation of more than 80 independent Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas crude oil and gas producers in litigation alleging that certain down-stream purchasers of crude oil and gas from SemCrude and its affiliates, including Goldman Sachs subsidiary J. Aron & Co. and British Petroleum subsidiary BP Oil Supply company, conspired with SemGroup to tortiously interfere with their contractual relationships and defraud them.
- Halliburton. Defended Halliburton in a commercial litigation suit filed by MCR Oil Tools concerning contractual rights to oil field tools technology.
- Hunt Oil Company. Representation of Hunt Oil Company in defending claims by the surface owner of land in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana for environmental damage to the soil and groundwater as a result of oil and gas operations.
- Coral Energy. Representation of Coral Energy in obtaining a favorable multimillion dollar settlement after prosecuting the breach of a gas transportation agreement ,which was tied to a long-term take or pay gas purchase agreement.
- Dyna-Drill Technologies, Inc. Successfully defended Dyna-Drill Technologies against a damages claim by Kennametal (d/b/a Conforma Clad, Inc.) of nearly $60 million for alleged trade secret misappropriation, tortious interference, and breach of contract. After a 13 day trial, the jury found Dyna-Drill owed no damages.
- NL Shaffer. Representation of NL Shaffer in securing a complete defense verdict in a $300 million Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act suit by ODECO Drilling concerning the sale of its equipment for incorporation into three offshore drilling rigs.
Media & Events
- Willie Wood quoted in Law360’s article “3 Legal Takeaways For Oil And Gas Sector Post-Hurricane Ida”09.01.2021
- Lauren Varnado quoted in Law360’s article “EQT Says $53M Deal Bars W.Va. Leaseholders' Royalty Claims”08.20.2021
- Lisa Houssiere provided commentary to the Mealey's International Arbitration Report, "International Arbitration Experts discuss the Impact on the Global Economy"11.24.2020
- Lisa Houssiere provided commentary to the article, “International Arbitration Experts Discuss the Future of Arbitration,” published by Mealey’s International Arbitration Report07.28.2020
- Lisa Houssiere provided commentary to Law360's article, "2nd Circ. Arbitration Discovery Ruling Ripe For High Court"07.13.2020
- Willie Wood quoted in Reorg News article "Force Majeure Provides Questionable Relief for LNG Buyers as Covid-19 Pandemic"05.13.2020
- Willie Wood was quoted in Energy Intelligence's Oil Daily report "Texas Crude Limit Debate Reveals Tension in Supply Chain"04.22.2020
- Willie Wood spoke with Law360 regarding "What Attys Must Know About The Push For Texas Drilling Cuts"04.03.2020
- Lisa Houssiere provided commentary to Law360's article "Coronavirus Disputes May Turn on Little-Known Clause03.28.2020
- Lisa Houssiere provides commentary to Law360's article, "Coronavirus May Hasten Arbitration Technology Boom"03.20.2020
- Willie Wood provided commentary to Law360's article "Texas Justices Say Contract is King in $535M Pipeline Fight"01.31.2020
- Law360's "Energy Cases to Watch in 2020" included commentary from McKool Smith Principal Willie Wood01.02.2020
- The National Diversity Council names Lisa Houssiere and Lauren Varnado among The Top 50 Women Lawyers during Legal Diversity Week10.10.2019
- Los Angeles Daily Journal, 12.02.2009
- Los Angeles Daily Journal Ranks McKool Smith Hennigan as a "Leading Southern California Litigation Firm"06.25.2008
- Willie Wood, Lisa Houssiere, and Cecilia Ibarra-Van Oostenrijk co-authored "Complexities Associated with Multi-Party Proceedings in Energy Sector Commercial Arbitration," a chapter in Arbitraje comercial y de inversión en el sector ene03.03.2021
- Lauren Varnado and David Dehoney published "4th Circ. Royalty Ruling a Win for W. Va. Gas Producers" in Law36001.06.2021
- Cyrus Bayar published "Oil & Gas Companies Face Broader Exposure to FCA Liability Under COVID Stimulus Programs" in Energy Law Advisor09.14.2020
- Willie Wood served as moderator for The Institute for Energy Law's webinar titled "Mexico Update: Upstream, Midstream, Refining and Marketing, and Power Sector"08.19.2021
- David Dehoney and Veronica Manning will present "Shining a Light on Solar Energy Projects: Impact of Mineral Issues on Solar Leasing at the 42nd Annual Institute of the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation06.16.2021
- Panelist, "Working Through Generational Diversity Among Leaders and Emerging Leaders (Boomers vs. Generation X vs. Millennials)," Women in Legal & Corporate Leadership Conference, Houston, Texas, March 11, 2020