Civil Remedies Energy & Utilities

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Court Provides Guidelines on Valuing Natural Resources in Eminent Domain Proceedings

Valuing mineral rights in eminent domain proceedings is inherently speculative and can lead to wide swings in property valuations. So how do appraisers best deal with the uncertainty involved in mineral exploitation? The...more

Historic Award in the Yukos Majority Shareholders Arbitration

In this issue: - Background of dispute - Tax reassessments - Harassment of Yukos - Settlement offers - “Rigged” auction - Harassment of PwC - Bankruptcy - Legal...more

District Court Denies Motion to Enjoin Delta Water Transfers

Last Friday, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California denied a motion brought by environmental groups to enjoin a water transfer project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (Delta). Plaintiffs...more

Frac(k)ing, Parr v. Aruba, and Minority Oppression

WHAT IS IT, FRACING OR FRACKING? Having gone back-and-forth over how to spell the process, I’ve figured it out....more

Nuisance Verdicts in the Barnett Shale: Two claims arising out of the same natural gas operations yield two very different...

On April 10, 2014, a Fort Worth jury rejected a landowner's nuisance claim against a well operator in Teri Anglim v. Chesapeake Operating Inc., 2011-008256-1. Plaintiff Teri Anglim claimed that Chesapeake's operations at two...more

Proximate Cause and Foreseeability Are Required Elements of Endangered Species Act Liability: Fifth Circuit Reverses Injunction...

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed an injunction that would have prohibited the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”) from issuing new water withdrawal permits affecting an estuary where...more

Texas Supreme Court Holds Cost to Remove Carbon Dioxide Injected in Enhanced Recovery Operations Is Properly Deductible from...

On June 27, the Supreme Court of Texas issued an opinion in Marcia Fuller French, et al v. Occidental Permian Ltd., No 12-002 (Tex. June 27, 2014), a case closely followed by the oil and gas industry. In its unanimous...more

Court of Appeal Upholds State Water Board Regulation Targeting Frost-Prevention Activities of Vineyards in Mendocino and Sonoma...

In Light v. State Water Resources Control Board (Opinion filed 6/16/2014), California’s First Appellate District upheld a State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) regulation that will potentially limit the amount of water...more

$2.9 Million Jury Award For Texas Fracking Claim: Lessons for Energy Company Risk Managers

A jury in Dallas recently awarded $2.9 million to a Texas family in one of the first trials involving allegations that hydraulic fracturing caused nearby residents to suffer health problems and property damage. Although...more

One Step Closer… Fifth Circuit Affirms BP Loss on CWA Liability Regarding Gulf Spill

The Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico occurred over four years ago, accompanied by numerous stories trumpeting the fact that BP would likely pay as much as $25 billion to the United States in civil penalties...more

Kids Get Their Day in Court on Climate Change

On June 11, the Oregon Court of Appeals held that two teens are entitled to a judicial declaration of whether there exists a “public trust” obligation in state officials to “protect the State’s atmosphere as well as the...more

B.C. Supreme Court Sets Aside B.C. Surface Rights Board Rent Review

In reasons released on May 30, 2014, the B.C. Supreme Court set aside the B.C. Surface Rights Board’s compensation award to a landowner in northern B.C. and remitted the case back to the Board for reconsideration: Progress...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - June 2014

Environmental and Policy Focus: California is ahead of EPA on climate rules - Los Angeles Times - Jun 5: In 2006, when California adopted AB 32, its landmark global warming law, it acted virtually alone. Now, the state...more

Indiana Federal Court Reconsiders Prior Ruling and Dismisses Untimely Claims for Injunctive Relief Under the Clean Air Act

In United States v. United States Steel Corp., __F.Supp.2d__, 2014 WL 1577837 (N.D. Ind. Apr. 18, 2014), an Indiana district court judge granted the defendant’s motion for reconsideration, candidly admitted he was wrong the...more

Second Circuit Denies Request to Stay NYISO’s New Capacity Zone

On June 4, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit (2nd Circuit) denied emergency stays of two Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) orders implementing a new capacity zone (NCZ) in New York (“NCZ...more

North Dakota Court Dismisses Flaring Cases

You might recall that North Dakota achieved nationwide notoriety when photos of flaring Bakken wells visible from space circulated around the news. According to the U. S. Department of Energy...more

Energy Litigation Update: Measure of Damages for Breach of a Contract to Drill Exploratory Oil or Gas Well: U.S. and English Law.

Measure of Damages for Breach of a Contract to Drill Exploratory Oil or Gas Well - U.S. and English Law. With recent increasing frontier exploration activity, greater attention has fallen on the value of work...more

Dallas Jury Awards $3 Million Verdict Against Oil and Gas Production Company

On April 22, 2014, a Dallas jury awarded almost $3 million to a Texas family in a nuisance case referred to in media headlines as the first-of-its-kind “fracking” case. Parr v. Aruba Petroleum, Inc., No. 11-01650-E (County...more

SEC Alleges Fraud from Unregistered Offerings of Oil and Gas Securities

On May 12, the Securities and Exchange Commission brought a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, alleging that between September 2010 and January 2012, Charles Couch, directly and through his...more

Texas Jury Awards Damages for Fracking Nuisance Claim for the Second Time

Last Friday, a Texas jury awarded a Tarrant County couple $20,000 in damages after finding activities at a natural gas drilling site located 165 feet from their property constituted a temporary private nuisance. The verdict...more

The Koontz Decision; Back to Florida

In the recent landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court in Koontz v. St. Johns Water Mgmt. Dist., 133 S. Ct. 2586 (2013), the Court majority held that exactions sought by local governments, which are not rationally...more

Divided Court of Appeals Panel Vacates FERC Order 745 on Compensation of Demand Response

FERC’s Order No. 745 requiring independent regional grid operators (RTOs and ISOs) in limited circumstances to compensate providers of state-authorized demand response services in the same amounts that they compensate...more

“A letter of intent is the invention of the devil [that] should be avoided at all costs.” -- Stephen R. Volk, Esq. regarding the...

A Dallas jury recently reminded us why Mr. Volk lamented letters of intent. Enterprise Products Partners, L.P. is currently appealing that jury’s finding of $319MM in actual damages and $914MM for improper benefits due to...more

"Hydraulic Fracturing" Verdict in Texas State Court -- Texas family recovers $3 million based on nuisance theory

On April 22, 2014, a six-person jury in Dallas awarded a Texas family $2.925 million in a trial based on medical problems allegedly caused by natural gas development. While the case involved gas wells that had been...more

Actions Speak Louder Than Words or Partnership by Ambush?: Formation of Partnerships in Texas after ETP v. Enterprise

On March 4, 2014, a Dallas jury awarded Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (“ETP”) $319 million in damages after finding that Enterprise Products Partners, L.P. (“Enterprise”) had formed a binding partnership with ETP to build a...more

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