Many Texas families and companies have been built on the back of oil and gas production. In Texas, mineral rights—the entitlement to explore and produce subsurface minerals, like oil and gas—can be separated from surface rights and sold, leased, gifted, split or otherwise conveyed relatively freely. The complexities of mineral rights leases were the focus of a recent $41 million judgment against EP Energy E&P Company, LP, a Texas oil and gas company. The case is Storey Minerals, Ltd., et al. v. EP Energy E&P Company, L.P., Case No. 001-36253, in the 81st Judicial District of La Salle, County, Texas.
Trade secret protection is often a central concern in litigation. This is particularly true for non-parties asked to disclose information they consider confidential, critical business information. The scope of discovery is broad, with the rules of discovery generally allowing the discovery of any information reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of relevant, admissible evidence. However, the rules of discovery also allow parties and non-parties to seek protection of privileged and other confidential information, such as trade secrets. This was the case for a non-party medical provider, AD Hospital East, LLC, in Austen Lackey v. Austin Dement and CRST Expedited, Inc., Case Number SA-17-cv-00514, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division.
Trade secrets present a unique problem for businesses. A company’s intellectual property is absolutely crucial to the operation and success of a business, but companies must decide whether to seek sunsetting protection by registering this property with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or U.S. Copyright Office. Alternatively, companies can classify the information as trade secrets, ideally protecting them in perpetuity. While trade secrets aren’t formally registered with a government entity, they can still be protected from misappropriation, but proving the item in question was in fact a trade secret and that misappropriation has occurred is not always simple. This was the case in Six Dimensions Inc. v. Perficient Inc. et al., Case Number 4:17-cv-02680, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.
Few would have predicted that a company’s inability to complete a Texas to California rail line in the late 1880’s would result in the creation of one of the oil and gas industry’s most valuable assets. The Texas Pacific Land Trust (TPL) was established in 1888 following the Texas and Pacific Railway Company’s failure and subsequent bankruptcy. The railway’s over 3.5 million acres of land were deeded into the TPL as part of the bankruptcy. The TPL sold much of this land over time, but its remaining 900,000 acres are mostly situated in the Permian Basin — one of the most oil rich basins in the country.
American Airlines employs over 31,000 mechanics to keep its planes in the air, but its four-year-long contract dispute with its mechanics’ unions may soon change that. The problem started in 2013 when American Airlines merged with U.S. Airways. At the time, each airline had a contract with a different union. Mechanics at American Airlines had a contract with the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and U.S. Airways mechanics had a contract with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). American Airlines has unsuccessfully tried to renegotiate a collective bargaining agreement with the two unions since 2015.
Occidental Petroleum’s acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum was huge news in the oil and gas industry. The $38 billion sale was a two-year ordeal that pitted Occidental against energy giant Chevron in a bidding war. While many applauded Occidental for the acquisition, others weren’t so sure. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has filed a lawsuit seeking access to Occidental’s books and records relating to the Anadarko acquisition. Icahn alleges the acquisition “raises very real questions about competence” due to the hefty price tag.
Kawhi Leonard is a powerhouse on the basketball court. As an NBA champion and MVP, his name earns him lucrative endorsement deals. One such deal is turning sour, as reported in a new lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Leonard alleges Nike is infringing upon the copyright of his logo. The case is Leonard v. Nike, Inc. 3:2019cv01035.
Sporting events are big business for teams and their hometowns. This is the case for Tucson, Arizona, which is not only the home to the Arizona Bowl, but also the center of a lawsuit between the Arizona Bowl owners and the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission (ASEC).
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is floating a new proposal that proponents hope will encourage more Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) by reducing auditing requirements for smaller public companies. However, experts have pointed out the proposal creates a new grey area that leaves questions for regulators and for small businesses too.