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Noble Energy Prevails in Imprudent Operations of Oil Wells Suit

The Louisiana Supreme Court issued a 7-0 opinion in favor of Stone Pigman client Noble Energy, Inc., and several other defendants, in a suit in which plaintiffs sought damages for the purported loss of hydrocarbons due to allegedly imprudent operations in connection with the drilling and operation of two oil wells.  Hayes Fund for the First United Methodist Church of Welsh, et al. v. Kerr-McGee Rock Mountain LLC, et al.

The trial took place over the course of 11 months in 2012, encompassing 25 days of testimony in what the Louisiana Supreme Court described as “a classic battle of experts.”  The court concluded that plaintiffs had not proven the operators caused any loss of hydrocarbons and dismissed all of the plaintiffs’ claims with prejudice.  The Court of Appeal, Third Circuit found manifest error, reversed, and rendered judgment for the plaintiffs for $13.4 million.  The Louisiana Supreme Court granted writs and, in a 68-page opinion, reversed the Court of Appeal, and found that the manifest error standard of review had not been properly applied and reinstated the district court’s take-nothing judgment.

John Farnsworth led Stone Pigman's team in this matter. 

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