Legacy Oil Field Sites

Many of the nation’s leading energy companies turn to Kean Miller for effective representation in a wide variety of litigation involving the exploration, production, refining, transportation and regulation of oil and gas in Louisiana.  Our firm has emerged as a leader in both property damage and chemical exposure defense, and we have earned our clients’ trust by producing positive results in hundreds of diverse cases.  We represent clients in cases involving claims of environmental contamination and remediation, alleged groundwater contamination, short-term and long-term exposure to hazardous materials, naturally occurring radioactive material (“NORM”), oil field waste, and products liability.  In addition, Kean Miller is involved in cutting-edge litigation on wetland loss issues, oilfield restoration and maintenance issues, and contractual obligations regarding land use. 

Importantly, Kean Miller has over 30 years of experience negotiating with major plaintiffs’ counsel across the state of Louisiana.  Further, we have a strong environmental regulatory practice that complements and supports the environmental litigation practice.

Representative Experience: 
  • Representation of a global energy client adverse to a large landowner in Calcasieu parish.  The plaintiff asserted claims for $75 million in compensatory damages and $225 million in punitive damages for alleged negligence, breach of contract, unreasonable and excessive use of property, strict liability, and willful and wanton conduct in connection with historic oil and gas operations.  After two and a half weeks of trial in May 2015, and several adverse evidentiary rulings against the client, the jury returned a verdict in favor of our client, which included the adoption of the client's remediation plan.
  • Representation of a global energy client adverse to a significant landowner in coastal Vermilion Parish.  The plaintiffs sought more than $119 million in compensatory damages, plus punitive damages, for alleged negligence, unreasonable and excessive use of mineral lease rights, strict liability, and willful and wanton conduct in connection with handling and storage of wastes.  Plaintiffs claimed that our client had violated environmental regulations, which they claimed resulted in widespread contamination of soil, groundwater, and sediment that required hundreds of acres of wetlands to be excavated, among other remedies.  Plaintiffs also claimed that the alleged environmental contamination had infiltrated crabs and other seafood, making these products unsafe for human consumption.  After a three-week trial in 2015, the jury adopted the environmental remediation plan presented by our client and found that our client had not engaged in any negligent or willful conduct and had not exceeded any of its rights under the applicable mineral and surface leases.
  • Representation of a major international oil company in a variety of oil field contamination (Act 312) cases over the course of the past 17 years.  The cases involve claims associated with soil and groundwater contamination.  These cases claim contaminants including Non-Hazardous Oilfield Wastes as well as NORM. The cases include inland locations as well as locations in marsh/wetland environments.  The cases have been brought on behalf of individual landowners and landowners numbering in the hundreds.  Many cases were filed as class actions involving thousands of potential class members.  The sites range from 1 acre tracts to 158 square miles.
  • Representation of a worldwide oil producer in a class action oilfield contamination case involving approximately 800 acres.  Our representation included securing expert testimony on behalf of the defendant and trial preparation.  The plaintiffs demanded over $25,000,000 for clean-up and the case was settled during negotiations after jury selection at an advantageous amount for defendant.
  • Representation of a worldwide oil producer in an oilfield contamination case over approximately 700 acres where 250 plaintiffs requested total damages, including a clean up of $33,000,000 to $100,000,000. After trial, the jury awarded $375,000 in clean up costs
  • Long-term representation of a major international oil company in Louisiana and Mississippi oil filed and pipe yard NORM cases
  • Representation of a major international oil company in a case involving environmental claims, pit claims, and NORM claims associated with fear of exposure to contaminated seafood
  • Representation of a major industrial chemical manufacturer in three cases involving claims for personal injury and property damage arising from alleged contamination of property by a cesium-137 radiation source
  • Representation of major oil and pipeline companies in oil field cases involving wetland damage claims across South Louisiana
  • Representation of various other clients in oilfield contamination cases involving serious and complex scientific, procedural and substantive legal issues, extensive trial preparation and logistical efforts
  • Representation of individual clients and trade group interests on legislative and rulemaking actions concerning the development of standards for oilfield remediation
  • Amicus briefs on behalf of API, LMOGA, and LOGA regarding oil field contamination (Act 312) and NORM cases
  • Representation of major international oil company in an oilfield pollution case alleging a clean up of contamination at a cost in excess of $20,000,000. After trial, the jury found for defense, awarding zero to plaintiff
In addition, Kean Miller’s historical representation of the chemical industry in Louisiana has fostered the development of a special practice area devoted to policyholder representation in insurance coverage disputes. Kean Miller has recently represented two policyholders (a major chemical company in Lake Charles and a group of pipeline companies in Geismar, Louisiana) in two major insurance cases that resulted in the recovery of millions of dollars in insurance coverage for pollution cleanup. The recoveries were from a diverse group of insurers, including both domestic and European insurers. Kean Miller has the expertise to analyze policy coverage over long time periods associated with site cleanup coverage and has the resources to litigate with large insurers seeking to avoid coverage.