Archives: Energy Litigation

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United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Finds That Louisiana Citizen Suit Legacy Claims Can be Heard in Federal Court

In its recent decision in Grace Ranch, L.L.C. v. BP America Production Company, et al., No. 20-30224 (5th Cir. Feb. 24, 2021), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit addressed a question that has increasingly become a sticking point in Louisiana “legacy” cases:  whether claims brought under a Louisiana citizen suit provision … Continue Reading

Ethical Obligations in Technology Assisted Review

Technology Assisted Review (TAR), also known as predictive coding or computer-assisted review, has been defined as “[a] process for prioritizing or coding a collection of documents using a computerized system that harnesses human judgments of one or more subject matter expert(s) on a smaller set of documents and then extrapolates those judgments to the remaining … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Punts on Important Arbitrability Question

On January 25, 2021, the United States Supreme Court dismissed, as “improvidently granted,” a writ of certiorari it had previously granted on a petition asking it to consider “[w]hether a provision in an arbitration agreement that exempts certain claims from arbitration negates an otherwise clear and unmistakable delegation of questions of arbitrability to an arbitrator.”  … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Upholds Independent Contractor Status for E & P Company

The issue of whether a company is an independent contractor of an E & P company is frequently litigated in oilfield injury accidents, as the injured worker searches for multiple sources of possible recovery.  In McDaniel v R.J.’s Transportation, LLC,  —- So.3d —, 2021 WL115917, the Second Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of Comstock … Continue Reading

The Meaning of “And” Determines Outcome of Oil and Gas Feud

In Tier 1 Resources Partners et al. v. Delaware Basin Resources LLC, 08-20-00060-CV, the Court of Appeals for the Eighth District of Texas (El Paso) recently held oral argument on the proper construction of the word “and” used in a Delaware Basin oil and gas lease.  The meaning of the word is hotly contested, the … Continue Reading

Carbon Capture and Sequestration in 2021: The Path Forward

2021 is already poised to offer substantial growth in the area of carbon capture and sequestration (“CCS”). On January 21, Elon Musk announced on Twitter that he will donate $100 million to the “best” carbon capture technology, chosen through a competition whose details and judging criteria are yet to be announced. Further, on February 1, … Continue Reading

Is the Frequency of Louisiana Environmental Quality Act Citizen Suit Litigation Increasing?

In 2003, the Louisiana Supreme Court rendered its landmark decision in Corbello, et al. v. Iowa Production, et al.  Since then, Louisiana courts have seen a steady stream of “legacy litigation” claims being filed.  Legacy litigation claims generally concern alleged contamination arising from historic oil and gas operations under theories of both breach of contract … Continue Reading

It’s Heating Up: United States Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Proper Jurisdiction for Climate-Change Lawsuit

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the climate change lawsuit filed by the City of Baltimore in 2018 against energy companies. This case is one of a number of cases brought by states, cities, and other municipalities against energy companies alleging that the companies contributed to climate change. By granting certiorari … Continue Reading

Louisiana Third Circuit Confirms Settled Application of Subsequent Purchaser Doctrine Where Expired Mineral Leases at Issue

As it “is impossible to transfer rights to an assignee under an expired mineral lease,” in a case where oil, gas and mineral leases had expired prior to plaintiff’s acquisition of the property, the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal in Litel Explorations, L.L.C. v. Aegis Development Company, L.L.C., et al. affirmed dismissal of claims … Continue Reading

Louisiana Third Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Royalty and Other Claims Based Upon Prescription

In a straightforward application of Louisiana’s prescriptive principles, the Louisiana Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit affirmed the trial court’s grant of exceptions of prescription, finding plaintiff’s claims for fraud, under the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act (LUTPA), and for unpaid royalties all prescribed in Karen May v. The Succession of Mayo Romero. … Continue Reading

Louisiana Supreme Court Addresses the Role of Louisiana Tax Commission

The Louisiana Supreme Court addressed the role of the Louisiana Tax Commission in its decision in the case of D90 Energy, LLC v. Jefferson Davis Parish Board of Review, No. 2020-C000200.   While the case addressed the property tax assessments of a specific taxpayer, its larger importance is the holding regarding the role of the Louisiana … Continue Reading

Louisiana Supreme Court Grants UNOCAL’s Writ Application from Third Circuit Decision Involving Prescription and Breach of Contract in Act 312 Case

On October 6, 2020, the Louisiana Supreme Court granted a writ application filed by UNOCAL in State of Louisiana, et al. v. Louisiana Land & Exploration Co., et al. This application sought review of the Louisiana Third Circuit’s decision that affirmed the Vermilion Parish School Board’s authority to sue on behalf of the state, rejected … Continue Reading

The Future of Carbon Capture and Sequestration

By ratifying the 2015 Paris Agreement,[1] nations across the world made a commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by the year 2030.  Carbon dioxide is one of the primary greenhouse gases found in the Earth’s atmosphere, accounting for 76% of global greenhouse gas emissions according to published reports. Any effort to … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court To Review Scope of Appellate Review for Federal Officer Removal in Climate Change Litigation

Today, the United States Supreme Court granted a Petition for Certiorari filed by energy companies in Baltimore’s climate change lawsuit.  By granting the petition, the Supreme Court has agreed to review the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision remanding the suit to state court after rejecting the energy companies’ contention that they were acting as … Continue Reading

DOI Announcement of a Proposed Rule on Risk Management, Financial Assurance and Loss Prevention

The long-awaited proposed changes to the Department of Interior’s Financial Assurance Rule (“Proposed Rule”) were finally announced yesterday by the Trump Administration.  The announcement provides, among other things, that the proposed rulemaking is in efforts to clarify, streamline and provide greater transparency to the financial assurance requirements (e.g., supplemental bonding) for OCS lessees and grant … Continue Reading

Louisiana’s Coastal Land Loss Litigation Produces Opinion of Interest to Appellate Practitioners in Federal Court

The jurisdictional contest over the proper forum for Louisiana’s sprawling coastal land loss litigation continues as petitions for panel and en banc rehearings on federal jurisdiction pend before the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Meanwhile, the plaintiffs’ strident effort to return to the state courts, located in the coastal Parishes whose governments have sued … Continue Reading

Trudging the Rocky Landscape of Royalty Dispute Litigation with the Texas Supreme Court Yet Again in BlueStone

With the prevalence of cases involving royalty disputes in Texas, the state’s Supreme Court has never hesitated to address these issues.  But the Court’s sporadic holdings regarding royalty clauses, each so specific to the particular language of the lease, have left lessees on unsteady footing.  BlueStone primes the Court to resolve a Texas appellate court … Continue Reading

Climate Change Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Kicks Climate Change Case Back to State Court

Amidst historically low oil prices and economic shutdowns, fossil fuel companies continue to defend against lawsuits brought by state and local governments claiming climate-change related damages.  In two companion cases, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided whether a federal district court could properly exercise jurisdiction over climate … Continue Reading

OSHA Addresses Reporting COVID-19 Cases as Job-Related and In-Person Workplace Inspections

On May 19, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued two noteworthy enforcement memos. The first memo announced the reversal of OSHA’s April 10, 2020 policy that limited the requirement to track on-the-job cases of COVID-19 to health-care facilities, emergency response providers, and corrections facilities. The new policy, which goes into effect on May 26, … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Issues New Act 312 Decision Involving Prescription and Breach of Contract

The Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal recently issued an opinion involving issues of prescription and breach of contract claims in the context of Act 312 and “legacy lawsuits” that oil and gas companies must remain cognizant of going forward. In State of Louisiana, et al. v. Louisiana Land & Exploration Co., et al., the … Continue Reading

Louisiana Second Circuit Provides Guidance as to Good Faith Required When Conducting Operations Necessary to Interrupt Prescription of Mineral Servitude

While the long-term fallout from the recent decline in oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic remains unclear, it is clear that drilling activity has already started to decline. During this downturn in activity, mineral rights owners must remain cognizant of the maintenance activities necessary to preserve their mineral rights.  Cannisnia Plantation, LLC v. Cecil Blount … Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Weighs in on Hydraulic Fracturing and Subsurface Trespass

In January of this year, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania tackled an issue that has been confronted by few other courts—whether the rule of capture precludes a claim for subsurface trespass due to hydraulic fracturing.[1]… Continue Reading

COVID-19 as a Force Majeure? The Texas and Louisiana Perspectives

Today, countries worldwide are responding to a pandemic of respiratory disease spreading from person-to-person caused by a novel coronavirus.  The disease has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).  The pandemic poses a serious public health risk, and government response has included closure of schools and businesses, declarations of emergency, and issuance of a variety … Continue Reading

Federal Offshore Pipeline Decommissioning in BOEM Significant Sediment Resource Areas

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of denials of applications to decommission offshore pipelines in place in a departure from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s (“BSEE”) longstanding practices.  The denials are accompanied by an order from BSEE to decommission the pipelines by removal, with reference to Notice to … Continue Reading
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