Energy & Utilities Business Torts

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Northern District of Texas Dismisses Bad Faith Claims in Well-Control Policy Dispute

Eagle Oil & Gas Co. v. Travelers Prop. Cas. Co. of Am., No. 7:12-cv-00133-O (N.D. Tex. Jul. 14, 2014) - Northern District of Texas dismisses bad faith claims against insurer and adjuster in dispute over coverage for...more

SEC Brings Fraud Charges Against Oil and Gas Company and Its CEO

On August 4, the Securities and Exchange Commission instituted cease-and-desist proceedings against Houston American Energy Corp., an oil and gas exploration and production company, and John F. Terwilliger, its CEO, for...more

FERC’s Principles-Based Enforcement

You may have noticed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has received lots of heated criticism over its enforcement of alleged market manipulation and fraudulent behaviors. You may also have noticed FERC has not...more

FERC Issues Notice of Alleged Natural Gas Market Manipulation

On July 9, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Staff Notice of Alleged Violations (Preliminary Notice) stating that FERC’s Office of Enforcement has preliminarily determined, in a non-public...more

ACER 2014 REMIT Report Confirms Continued Inquiries into Market Conduct

ACER calls for substantial funding increase to enable more aggressive monitoring and enforcement efforts in coordination with national regulators. On Tuesday 10 June 2014, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy...more

Operator Wins JOA Fight

MDU Barnett Ltd. P’ship v. Chesapeake Exploration Ltd. P’ship is at least three things: - The culmination of an unhappy relationship between an operator and non-operators. - What happens when joint owners’ interests...more

FERC Issues Notice of Alleged MISO Market Manipulation

On June 12, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Staff Notice of Alleged Violations (Preliminary Notice) stating that FERC’s Office of Enforcement has preliminarily determined, in a formal, nonpublic...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

Unregistered Finder Settles With The SEC, Agrees To Pay Millions

The SEC recently settled an enforcement action against an individual alleged to have sold millions of dollars in securities on behalf of oil and gas companies without being associated with a registered broker dealer, as...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

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

Going Public: Powhatan Energy Fund’s “Insurance Policy” Regarding FERC Enforcement’s Non-Public Manipulation Investigation Into...

On February 28, 2014, Powhatan Energy Fund (“Powhatan”) launched a public website disclosing that for more than three years, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) Office of Enforcement (“OE”) has been...more

Texas Supreme Court Will Review Reversal Of $20 Million Judgment

Two intriguing factors are present in the Texas Supreme Court’s decision to review Hooks v. Samson Lone Star, LP. It is out of the ordinary for this court to consider a court of appeals reversal of a large jury verdict. ...more

Texas Court Of Appeals: Providing "Treasure Map" To Potential Investors Without Non-Disclosure Agreement Does Not Destroy Trade...

A Texas Court of Appeals upheld a jury's determination that a seismic map of an underground natural gas field retained its trade secret status, despite the fact that the owner gave the map to the alleged misappropriator and...more

Avoiding multimillion-dollar liability for de facto partnership breach under Texas law: one useful tip

After a lengthy trial, a Dallas jury has found that a de facto partnership existed between Energy Transfers Partners, L.P. (ETP) and Enterprise Products Partners, L.P. “to market and pursue a pipeline project to transport...more

The "Bright Star" Fades: The NC Business Court On Letters Of Credit

I've resolved this year to blog about every numbered decision of the Business Court, as opposed to past years, where my lack of enthusiasm about the more boring decisions has left me writing about less than 100% of the...more

FERC Enforcement Chief Norman Bay Testifies Regarding FERC’s Energy Market Oversight and Enforcement Authority and Approach

On January 15, 2014, Norman C. Bay, Director of the Office of Enforcement (OE) of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), testified before the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Financial...more

Barclays Motion to Dismiss Raises Significant Issues About FERC Jurisdiction

After an investigation of actions in the western electricity markets by Barclays Bank PLC (“Barclays”), Daniel Brin, Scott Connelly, Karen Levine, and Ryan Smith (collectively, the “Traders” and together with Barclays,...more

Appeal Court Allows $2-Billion Wind Farm Action to Proceed Against Government of Ontario

On November 12, 2013, inTrillium Power Wind Corporation v. Ontario (Natural Resources), 2013 ONCA 683, the Ontario Court of Appeal allowed a $2-billion action by Trillium Power Wind Corporation (Trillium) to proceed against...more

The Investigative and Enforcement Priorities of the FERC Office of Enforcement

The past year has been marked by several record-breaking penalties imposed on companies and individuals by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) for alleged misconduct in the energy markets. On November 21, 2013,...more

How An Oil And Gas Scammer Avoided Justice

Scoundrels often get away with their crimes by scamming lots of victims for small amounts, so that no one investor can afford to prosecute his claim. Big Rock Investors Association v. Big Rock Petroleum, Inc. was an...more

FERC Requests that U.S. District Court Affirm Penalties for Market Manipulation

On October 1, 2013, we reported here that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued orders on August 29, 2013, assessing civil penalties against, and requiring disgorgement of profits by, Lincoln Paper and...more

Haynesville Shale Fraud Judgment Reversed

Vestiges of the early Haynesville Shale land rush remain. Imagine: The lease is about to expire. Lessee (Mecom) offers lessor (Henderson) $90 per acre for an extension, telling him, “I could extend for two more years...more

Second Circuit Affirms Canadian Mining Company’s Victory in Securities Fraud Suit

A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently upheld the dismissal of a multidistrict class action against Canadian mining company Agnico-Eagle Mines Limited (Agnico) and its executives, who...more

Barriers to Cooperation between the CFTC and FERC Hinder Investigations into Energy Market Manipulation – A Legislative Fix May be...

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) has initiated investigations into energy market manipulation in the last two years that have resulted in nearly $1 billion in penalties and profit disgorgements from companies...more

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