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November 2019

New Orleans Team Secures $1.8 Million Judgment on behalf of Norwegian Oil-and-Gas Engineering and Technical Company

Louisiana litigation Partners David Bland and Brian Comarda, along with Associate Rachel Bland, secured a judgment for $1.8 million in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana against a start-up oil-and-gas exploration-and-production company and its sister entity, a provider of labor in the oil-and-gas exploration-and-production industry, on behalf of Gordon & Rees' client, a Norwegian-based company that provides engineering and technical services to oil-and-gas exploration-and-production companies. 

The firm's client provided engineering services to the start-up company for a conceptual validation study for an offshore production facility located in the Trident Field in the Gulf of Mexico. After Gordon & Rees' client provided services, the start-up failed to pay for any of this work, totaling $1.8 in damages, claimed it was bankrupt, then filed for dissolution. The firm's client sued the start-up and a related sister entity, alleging that they constitute a single business enterprise, that the start-up is the alter-ego of the sister company’s sole member and owner, and for breach of contract under Louisiana law. 

To prove that two entities constitute a single business enterprise bears an exceedingly high burden to meet.  However, following a two-day trial, the court found that the difficult burden was met. Thus, Gordon & Rees' client was allowed to recover against the start-up and its sister company, as a single business enterprise that was held to be jointly and solidarily liable for client’s debt arising out of the start-up’s breach of contract.  Also, pursuant to the court’s inherent authority to award attorneys’ fees to a prevailing party in its’ discretion, the court found that the start-up and the sister company are jointly and solidarily liable to pay the client’s attorneys’ fees. 

David S. Bland
Rachel S. Bland
Brian J. Comarda