Energy & Utilities Business Torts

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North Dakota Supreme Court Addresses What Creates a Fiduciary Relationship with a Land Broker

On September 21, 2015, the North Dakota Supreme Court found that a fiduciary relationship between an oil company and its landman could exist depending upon the existence of a confidential relationship. Irish Oil...more

Supreme Court Declares Canadian Corporations may be Liable for Acts of Foreign Affiliates

In a just-released decision, Chevron Corp v Yaiguaje, 2015 SCC 42, the Supreme Court of Canada held that Canadian courts have jurisdiction to decide whether a foreign judgment can be enforced in Ontario against either or both...more

You Own the Oil. Do You Own the Rock?

Riddle: What’s the difference between a hydrocarbon molecule and the underground structure which the molecule inhabits? Answer: In Texas, you can own one and not the other, according to Lightning Oil Co. v. Anadarko E&P...more

Court Arrives at Fair Market Value of Gas Property

In Texas, lost profits can’t be recovered as damages unless proven to a “reasonable certainty”. Question 1: What does that mean? Question 2: Does it matter if the deal is in Bulgaria? Let’s get rid of the...more

Exercising Registration Rights Did Not Violate Fiduciary Duties

Molycorp, Inc. is a publically traded Delaware corporation engaged in a the production and sale of rare earth oxides. Private equity investors held 44% of Molycorp’s stock, appointed certain directors and had demand...more

General partner to pay $171 million for special committee’s failure to act in good faith: 2 key takeaways

In In re El Paso Pipeline Partners, L.P. Derivative Litigation, 2015 WL 1815846 (Del. Ch. Apr. 20, 2015), the Delaware Court of Chancery (Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster) issued a post-trial opinion finding that the general...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: The Broader Lesson of the El Paso Pipeline Decision

Alternative entities, such as limited partnerships and limited liability companies, have an advantage over corporations because of the greater flexibility to define the terms of the arrangement by contract. ...more

SEC Files Offering Fraud Action

The Commission filed another offering fraud action tied to the sale of interests in the development of oil and gas wells prior to the recent downturn in the price of oil. Beginning in 2010 the defendants raised about $4.4...more

Trans Mountain Pipeline Project Hits the Courts

The Trans Mountain Expansion Project, which involves the proposed twinning of the existing Edmonton-Burnaby pipeline and the expansion of a marine terminal, was the subject of a number of court decisions last year involving...more

Must the Lessee Be Wary of the Executive Right Owner?

You are negotiating to take a big oil and gas lease. The run sheets show you are dealing with an executive right owner on behalf of himself and his NPRI owner. His proposed terms are odd: a lower-than-market royalty and a...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: Range Resources Case

On March 6, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court decided a case involving the duties owed to the non-executive holder of a nonparticipating royalty interest by both the executive rights holder and the lessee that negotiated the...more

The Executive Right and the NPRI – What is the Relationship?

The duty owed by the executive right holder to its non-participating royalty interest holder in Texas, long haunted by the ghost of Clinton Manges, is again examined. From KCM Financial, et al. v. Bradshaw and its...more

A New Front Opens up in the Arizona Solar Battle

On March 2, 2015, SolarCity Corporation (“SolarCity”) filed suit in the federal District Court for the District of Arizona against the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District (“SRP”) alleging that SRP...more

Louisiana Lessee Could be Liable for Withholding Information

A Quiz - You are in Louisiana and are described as having a “lesion beyond moiety”. What do you do? A. Contact your primary care physician for an appointment...more

SEC Continues To Focus On Microcap Fraud

The Commission continues to focus on microcap fraud actions with two new manipulation cases involving penny stocks. In one a former registered representative acted as an unregistered broker and then engaged in a series of...more

Class Actions Can Strain Retail Electric Providers

In August 2014, a putative class action suit was brought against Ambit Energy Holdings LLC, Ambit Texas, LLC, Ambit Northeast LLC, and Ambit New York, LLC (collectively, “Ambit”) in New Jersey federal district court. Class...more

Listen to the Words In the Injunction Battle

In Lightning Oil Company v. Anadarko E&P Offshore, LLC, the surface and 1/6 of the minerals of the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area is owned by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 5/6th of the minerals is owned by the...more

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

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