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  1. Energy litigation: oil and gas
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Recommended for its wide-ranging expertise, Baker Botts L.L.P. acts for major oil and gas operators, service companies and pipelines. The team, which is jointly led by Houston-based Bill Kroger and Washington DC-based Michael Calhoon, is experienced in handling lease and royalty disputes, oil rig fatality claims and pipeline right-of-way complaints, among others. Michael Goldberg and Kevin Jacobs defended Chevron and Alireza Moshiri - former president of Chevron Africa and Latin America Exploration and Production - in a suit filed by Brittania-U, claiming fraud and tortious interference in the bidding process for the sale of three oil mining leases in Nigeria. The team also secured a win for Marathon Oil in a private nuisance suit in the Eagle Ford shale play. Other clients include Shell Oil, Texaco and the independent exploration company Hyperdynamics.

Trusted Advisor - with Finnegan

IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.

The ‘outstanding’ team at Beck Redden has substantial experience in representing key industry names such as ExxonMobil, Statoil and Chesapeake Energy as plaintiffs and defendants. Fields Alexander represented Statoil in a class certification order brought by Brigham Exploration shareholders, who alleged the company was undervalued in its $4.4bn acquisition by Statoil. David Gunn successfully represented ExxonMobil in an insurance coverage dispute with Liberty Surplus Insurance, which argued it was not liable for $4m in personal injury claims paid by the oil and gas corporation in the wake of a Texas chemical plant explosion. Russell Post acted for Chesapeake Energy in filing a petition for review with the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit regarding arbitration agreements in employment contracts. David Beck is a prominent figure in the market.

Gibbs & Bruns LLP is ‘very good’ at plaintiff and defendant representation, handling a wide range of contentious matters, including contract and construction disputes. The team, which includes recently promoted partner Anthony Kaim, defended Occidental Energy Marketing and Oxy Ingleside LPG Pipeline against breach of contract allegations made by NuStar Logistics; the dispute arose from a liquid propane pipeline refurbishment project in Texas and the associated take-or-pay arrangement made between the three parties, which was subsequently terminated by Oxy. In a separate matter, Robin Gibbs represented Enterprise Products Operating in a construction and engineering lawsuit against its contractor Amec Foster Wheeler and its British parent company. Barrett Reasoner is highly recommended. Grant Harvey retired from the firm.

The ‘excellent’ team at King & Spalding LLP has significantly increased its partner bench strength, promoting Kevin Clark, Benjamin Pollock and the ‘outstanding’ Elizabeth Taber in Houston, as well as Atlanta-based Susan Clare and arbitration-focused attorney Elizabeth Silbert. Highly recommended national commercial litigation practice head Robert Meadows, whom clients regard as being ‘one of the best defense lawyers’, acted as lead trial counsel for Chevron in a multibillion-dollar lawsuit brought by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East over alleged oil and gas drilling damage to coastal ecosystems. Charles Correll represented the multinational energy corporation in a royalty class action case filed in California where plaintiffs seek to certify a class of all private-lease royalty owners associated with California oil and gas leases. Other areas of expertise include construction, commercial, damage and personal injury litigation and international arbitration.

Bracewell LLP is particularly well versed in defending oil and gas industry clients in commercial and royalty disputes, while also acting on the plaintiff side and in arbitration proceedings. Andrew Zeve and practice head Stephen Crain defended Baker Hughes against TRIUVA in a dispute over allegedly defective equipment sold by the oilfield services company. In another matter, Crain defended Apache against three energy companies, which sought $1.1bn in damages due to Apache’s alleged failure to provide accounting documentation to permit the three plaintiffs to reacquire one-third of interests sold to the defendant in 2011. As another highlight, ‘top lawyerSean Gorman defended Southwestern Energy in a royalty dispute with a number of mineral interest owners, who claimed underpayment. Bradley Benoit and Christopher Dodson are also recommended.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP represents key names such as BP and Chesapeake Appalachia in litigation, including environmental and commercial disputes alongside class actions. The team, which includes the well-regarded Richard Godfrey, acted as lead trial counsel for the former in litigation pertaining to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Washington DC-based Daniel Donovan represented Chesapeake Energy in a declaratory judgment action objecting to a class arbitration initiated by Scout Petroleum, alleging the underpayment of royalties. He also defended Chesapeake Appalachia and its affiliates in antitrust litigation pertaining to alleged reductions of royalty payments on oil and gas leases, which the lawsuit alleged were in violation of Pennsylvania’s unfair trade and consumer protection laws, the Sherman Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act.

Very good trial firmNorton Rose Fulbright US LLP has ‘outstanding industry knowledge’, allowing it to undertake a range of litigation and arbitration in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors; it is particularly experienced in royalty class actions, landowner and environmental litigation, while also handling construction and commercial disputes. The ‘immensely talented’ team, which includes Daniel McClure, acted as lead counsel for Chevron in a royalty class action brought by Kansas and Oklahoma oil and gas royalty owners for alleged underpayment. Reagan Brown represented ExxonMobil in pursuing an indemnity suit against a Forth Worth-based energy company. In arbitration, the team represented Phillips 66 in a construction dispute with oil and gas pipeline contractor Driver Pipeline. William Wood heads the energy and infrastructure team, which includes recently promoted partner Carter Walker Dugan.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP has a strong profile representing clients before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and in court appeals, handling a large number of investigations and rate cases. Pipeline group head Steven Reed represented ConocoPhillips Transportation Alaska in an appeal brought by the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) on interstate rate increases. In another rate case, Daniel Poynor represented Seaway Crude Pipeline - a joint venture between Enterprise Products and Enbridge - before FERC. Highly recommended regulatory and industry affairs department head Steven Brose defended Enterprise TE Products Pipeline against a complaint filed by a group of shippers and other parties, claiming the carrier pipeline operator’s cancellation of distillate and jet fuel services violated the settlement agreement from the tariff case settled by FERC in 2013.

Earning praise for its ‘very good, efficient and responsive trial practice’, Susman Godfrey LLP provides ‘innovative strategies’ and acts for plaintiffs and defendants alike. The ‘decisive, pragmatic and very well-organized’ Geoffrey Harrison successfully represented Apache Deepwater against W&T Offshore in a contractual dispute, claiming a breach of the parties’ operating agreement over three deepwater wells in Mississippi Canyon Block #674. Thomas Paterson, who heads the team alongside managing partner Neal Manne, served as lead counsel to Apache Corporation in its suit against clean energy company NextEra Energy and investment firm Seven Group, alleging that Apache’s contractual rights were breached when NextEra Energy sold its 11% stake in an oil and gas field to Seven Group Holdings for $63m. Other clients include Olympia Minerals and Vitol. Barry Barnett is ‘very approachable, pragmatic and rational’.

Thompson & Knight LLP is ‘very good’ at representing a wide range of oil and gas industry clients, including national and international oil and gas majors, independents and other stakeholders in litigation and arbitration. Key client names include well control company Boots & Coots, Petrobras America and Three Rivers Operating. Led by Dallas-based Gregory Binns, the practice receives a steady flow of royalty and drilling leasing matters alongside damage and breach of contract claims, and also has notable experience in handling class actions. A team, which included Fort Worth-based Robert Vartabedian, represented Double Eagle Development in a lease dispute with Endeavor Energy Resources over oil well ownership in the Permian Basin.

Vinson & Elkins LLP has considerable clout in jury and bench trials before federal and state courts with a particular strength in Texas. Houston-based James Thompson, who co-heads the commercial litigation practice with Dallas office managing partner John Wander, represented Marathon Oil in several royalty and breach of contract lawsuits in southern Texas. Guy Stanford Lipe acted as lead counsel to Linn Operating in a royalty class action before the Oklahoma Western District Court. The plaintiffs alleged that Linn and its predecessors improperly calculated and paid royalties on production from approximately 1,700 wells to thousands of royalty owners. Other clients include Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, Plains All American Pipeline and Gastar Exploration.

Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP is experienced in representing clients in litigation arising from energy industry operations such as exploration and production disputes, including issues concerning royalties, products and services. Stuart Hollimon, who jointly heads the team with Craig Stahl, defended Apache against allegations that it failed to properly conduct shallow water flood operations, thus resulting in damage to deeper formations and adjacent leases. Alexis Gomez defended Statoil Oil & Gas in a royalty and breach of contract dispute. The team’s client roster also includes Burlington Resources Oil & Gas, Delaware Basin Resources and Encana. Charles Hampton moved to McGuireWoods LLP.

Contractual disputes and administrative proceedings form the bulk of Baker & Hostetler LLP’s litigation work. It receives a steady flow of cases concerning oil and gas leases, joint venture and exploration agreements, drilling contracts and oil spill issues. Mark Barron represented the Independent Petroleum Association of America and Western Energy Alliance in a challenge to the validity of the Bureau of Land Management’s final regulations to govern hydraulic fracturing on federal and Native American lands. The firm subsequently obtained a preliminary injunction, blocking the Bureau of Land Management from implementing the rules. The practice co-heads are Martin Booher in Cleveland, Poe Leggette in Denver and Ray Whitman in Houston.

The team at Covington & Burling LLP, which is jointly led by TL Cubbage and Steven Rosenbaum, is best known for representing oil and gas industry players in national and international disputes, including high-stakes arbitration proceedings against commercial counterparties and foreign governments. The team represented BP and various subsidiaries and affiliates in a range of cases and contexts arising from the Deepwater Horizon accident and its resulting oil spill. Most recently, the practice represented the oil and gas company in various aspects of the multi-stage bench trial and related proceedings regarding BP’s civil liability under admiralty law and the Clean Water Act. In arbitration, Cubbage and Miguel López Forastier represented certain subsidiaries of ExxonMobil as the claimant in an ICSID investor-state arbitration against Venezuela arising from uncompensated expropriation of the entirety of the claimants’ investments in Venezuela.

Commercial disputes constitute a key element of Hogan Lovells US LLP’s ‘very smart practice’, which predominantly represents defendants but also acts for plaintiffs. Houston office managing partner Bruce Oakley defended offshore drilling contractor Transocean in a breach of contract dispute with Eni US Operating in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Other areas of expertise include construction, tort and environmental disputes as well as contentious regulatory matters. Washington DC-based Cate Stetson represented Dominion Cove Point LNG in an appeal launched by an environmental group against the Maryland Public Service Commission’s regulatory approval of the gas company’s construction of liquefaction facilities for the export of LNG from Dominion’s terminal on the Chesapeake Bay. The team also represented the client in a Sierra Club appeal against FERC’s authorization of the construction and operation of the project. Robert Wolinsky is the main contact.

Particularly active in defending energy companies, McGuireWoods LLP’s Houston partner Ronald Franklin represented ExxonMobil in a class action pertaining to the distribution and production of atypical fuel that allegedly caused performance issues and damage to a number of motorists’ engines. In a different matter, Franklin defended the oil and gas company against a class of property owners and residents living within a two-mile radius of ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge refinery and chemical plant, claiming exposure to pollutants stemming from the site. Ryan Purpura and Charlottesville office manager Jonathan Blank co-lead the firm’s oil and gas team, which gained Charles Hampton from Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP and lost David Ronn to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is well versed in representing clients across the energy industry, including utilities, nuclear power and renewable energy companies, as well as oil and gas corporations and is best known for its experience in toxic tort and environmental litigation. Los Angeles-based lawyers David Schrader and Deanne Miller defended Shell Oil in mass toxic tort litigation matters arising from alleged petroleum hydrocarbon contamination in a residential neighborhood in Carson, California. This involved personal injury and property damage claims filed by hundreds of toxic tort plaintiffs, a public nuisance lawsuit filed by the City of Carson and a regulatory investigation. Other clients include Anadarko Petroleum and Range Resources. Kathryn Sutton heads the energy practice from Washington DC, while head of litigation Ella Foley Gannon is based in San Francisco.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP has a diverse range of expertise and acts for a number of key energy industry names such as Shell Oil. Appellate practice head Kathleen Sullivan successfully represented the oil and gas company in a patent infringement appeal involving benzene purification against David Netzer Consulting Engineer at the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Karl Stern, who jointly heads the energy sector disputes practice with Sanford Weisburst, acted as lead counsel for the independent commodity merchant company Phibro in opposing a putative class action in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The plaintiffs - futures and derivatives traders and oil and gas property owners - accused Phibro of Brent crude oil pricing manipulation. Maaren Shah and Keith Forst were elevated to the partnership.

Commercial and construction disputes are significant elements of Reed Smith LLP’s litigation work. The ‘knowledgeable and responsive’ team is particularly well versed in dealing with royalty class actions, lease disputes and dormant mineral act litigation. Pittsburgh-based Kevin Abbott defended CNX Gas against a class action pertaining to royalty payments to oil and gas lessors. In a different matter, the team defended Kinder Morgan in a challenge by a citizens’ group under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pertaining to the train transportation permitting of crude oil into California. Pittsburgh-based Nicolle Snyder Bagnell and Houston-based Craig Enochs jointly head the team, which includes recent arrivals in the form of Ericson Kimbel from now defunct Burleson LLP, Alan York from Godwin Bowman & Martinez and Belynda Reck from Hunton & Williams LLP. Michael Yuffee moved to Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP.

Houston-based boutique Reynolds Frizzell LLP has specialist expertise in commercial disputes, mainly for defendants. Jean Frizzell, Brandon Allen and Solace Southwick defended Energy Transfer Partners in a suit filed by Enterprise Texas Pipeline, alleging the breach of a pipeline agreement and seeking damages of $400m. Also on the defense side, the team represented Wood Group Mustang in a dispute with Enterprise Products Operating arising from alleged failures to detect certain critical defects in ten pipelines in Port Arthur, Texas. Other clients include DCP Midstream, Furie Petroleum and Dynamic Industries. Chris Reynolds is a key figure of the practice.

Displaying ‘excellent business acumen and industry knowledge’, Sidley Austin LLP’s strengths lie in representing pipeline companies, energy providers, shippers and individuals in contentious regulatory matters and commercial disputes. Dallas office managing partner Yvette Ostolaza defended EnLink NGL Marketing against allegations brought by Williams Olefins that EnLink had diverted streams of natural gas liquids away from two of its processing plants in Louisiana to avoid contractual obligations. In a separate matter, the team defended EnLink subsidiaries in a lawsuit brought by Targa Midstream Services, alleging breach of an agreement to operate a natural gas processing plant in Louisiana. Houston-based Tracy LeRoy represented three former officers of Buccaneer Alaska against allegations made by the trustee of the Liquidating Trust of Buccaneer that each defendant breached his fiduciary duty by drilling onshore wells in Alaska despite allegedly not having sufficient data to support expending resources to drill. Mark Glasser retired from the firm.

Winston & Strawn LLP’s team combines litigation and regulatory experience, giving it the scope to handle a wide range of energy disputes, including rate and cost allocation litigation, market manipulation and unfair competition cases. Washington DC partners Elias Farrah and Raymond Wuslich served as lead hearing counsel to New York transmission owners before FERC with regards to ITC Transmission’s and Midcontinent Independent System Operator’s (MISO) proposed cost allocations of phase angle regulators (PARs) - built to safeguard the transmission grid in Michigan - to customers in New York. The case resulted in more than $16m of refunds to New York consumers. Wuslich and Gordon Coffee continue to represent FirstEnergy in litigation over California’s energy crisis during 2000-01 that spawned dozens of FERC proceedings and court appeals.

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