Legacy Oil Field Sites

by Laura L. Hart

The U.S. Supreme Court granted Exxon Mobil Corporation’s (“Exxon Mobil”) Petition for a Writ of Certiorari (2006 WL 1786680, 75 USLW 3009, 6/29/2006) and vacated the punitive damages award granted in the Grefer suit. See, Exxon Mobil Corporation v. Grefer, Joseph, et al., 05-1670 __ S.Ct. __, 2007 WL 559870 (2/26/2007).         

Plaintiffs claimed that their property had been contaminated with naturally occurring radioactive material (“NORM”) as a result of the pipe cleaning operations conducted thereon. A jury rendered judgment for the plaintiffs and awarded $56.145 million in compensatory damages, $145,000 in general damages, $56 million in restoration costs, and $1 billion in exemplary/punitive damages. The Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed the awards of compensatory damages, general damages, and damages awarded for restoration costs, but reduced the $1billion award for punitive damages to $112.290 million. 


Continue Reading

Kean Miller is pleased to announce that 12 lawyers, formerly in the Admiralty & Maritime, Construction, and Energy practice areas with Lemle & Kelleher, LLP, have joined the firm in the New Orleans office.

“We are very excited to welcome these distinguished attorneys to our law firm. They are an outstanding resource for our clients. Our offices are located in Louisiana’s major port cities — New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lake Charles — and this esteemed group brings over 150 years of combined experience in maritime issues, admiralty law, marine insurance, oil & gas, drilling and exploration, pipelines, construction, and energy law to our clients.” said Gary A. Bezet, managing partner of the 121-lawyer firm.
Continue Reading

As a service to the community and its clients, Kean Miller will present a Post-Katrina Energy Industry Forum on Thursday, October 13th. In addition, the firm will host its Louisiana Environmental Forum on Friday, October 14th. These two important industry events are part of a week-long breakfast briefing series designed to provide innovation, insight and ideas for business and industry in Louisiana. These breakfast briefing events will be held at Drusilla Place, 3482 Drusilla Lane (Jefferson Highway at I-12 in Baton Rouge).
Continue Reading

By Lolly White In-house counsel who are employed in Louisiana but are not licensed to practice law here have until July 1, 2005 to file an application for limited licensure to practice under the Louisiana Supreme Court’s new In-House Counsel Rule.
Continue Reading

By Dwayne Johnson

The Louisiana Fourth Circuit, in a decision sure to be appealed, recently upheld a lower court’s award of compensatory damages – and reduced the lower court’s punitive damage award – as a result of the defendants’ alleged contamination of the plaintiffs’ land with naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). Grefer, et al. v. Alpha Technical, et al., 2002-CA-1237 (La. App. 4th Cir. 3/31/05); appeal from, Civil District Court, Orleans Parish.
Continue Reading

By Trey McCowan

Amicus curiae brief filed by Kean Miller Partners Bill Jarman and Linda Akchin for the American Petroleum Institute, the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association, and the Louisiana Independent Oil & Gas Association.

Summary:

In Terrebonne Parish School Board vs. Castex Energy, et al., the Louisiana Supreme Court has held that a mineral lessee has no implied obligation to backfill oilfield access canals when the oil company’s lease granted an express right to dredge canals and where there is no evidence that the oil company lessees exceeded the rights granted to them under the lease or acted unreasonably or negligently in dredging the canals. Article 122 of the Louisiana Mineral Code only imposes a duty to restore the surface to its original condition where there is evidence of unreasonable or excessive use of the surface of leased premises.
Continue Reading