Oil Fraudster Conspires with His Own LLC

Gray Reed

Gray Reed & McGraw

In January I commented on the partnership that wasn’t and the lawyer whose actions give the rest of us a bad name. That was Stephens et al. v. Three Finger Black Shale Partnership et al. The court of appeal has substituted its original 66-pages with a 67 page opus. Save yourself the trouble of reading the whole thing and go to pages 41 to 44.

The court concluded that as a result of the recent Supreme Court decision in Agar Corp. v. Electro Circuits Int’l, LLC, several Thunderbird entities and their owner, sleazy lawyer Stephens, were jointly and severally liable to L W Hunt Resources and Raughton for actual and exemplary damages. There were three different conspiracy scenarios for the jury to consider: conspiracy to commit a breach of fiduciary duties related to the attorney-client relationship, breach of fiduciary duties arising from related to the “Alpine Group”, and conspiracy to commit fraud. The jury found a conspiracy on each ground.

The court originally found that because there was no separate jury finding as to the amount of damages related specifically to the conspiracy, the conspiracy findings would not be upheld. Since then the Supreme Court held that a plaintiff’s injury is the damage from the underlying wrong, not the conspiracy. Civil conspiracy is not independent tort. Thus, the Stephens jury didn’t need to answer a conspiracy damage issue separate from a damage issue relative to the underlying tort.

Why does this matter?

Now, a bad player can be liable for conspiring with his own limited liability companies because they are entities separate from their sole member. If your scammer scammed through his LLC you can recover a judgment against the company as well as the scammer. That bodes well for post-judgment collection efforts.

Trigger warnings!

If you agree with the New York Times that all oil exploration everywhere should cease immediately, stop reading now and retire to your safe space. If not, consider this article from Watts Up With That! and a correction casting doubt on the economic sustainability of wind energy.

Not saying you need to accept the premises of the article, but know there are contrarian opinions that don’t attract much attention from the MSM.

We’re running out of Neville Brothers

At Neville, RIP.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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