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Baker Donelson Helps Oil and Gas Client Resume Site Operations

Injunction Proceeding
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Client industry: Oil and Gas
Type of case: Injunction Proceeding
Court: Forty-Second Judicial District Court, Parish of DeSoto, State of Louisiana
Result: Obtained preliminary injunction for client

Baker Donelson's client, one of the largest oil and gas exploration and production companies in the United States, retained the Firm to assist with a situation involving landowners around a well site. During the initial work to prepare the site for drilling a well, several landowners arrived at the scene demanding that the client cease work. One of the landowners even carried a gun and several of the personnel on site felt threatened. After contacting local law enforcement, the work stopped due to the situation being a contract and property dispute rather than a criminal matter.

The cessation of work caused significant concern to the client as the preparation of the well site and the drilling of a well requires coordination of contractors, including a drilling contractor. A delay in one aspect of the work generally can result in loss of the drilling and other contractors due to contractual commitments to other customers. Consequently, it can also result in significant monetary losses to the client in terms of contractual issues with its contractors and the delay in ultimately producing the well.

The Firm filed and obtained a temporary restraining order within two days of receiving the assignment, and the court scheduled a preliminary injunction hearing shortly thereafter. Prior to the hearing, the Firm prepared several client witnesses for testimony about the oil and gas leases in effect and the work to be done. The Firm also coordinated collection and organization of numerous leases and other title documents to demonstrate the client's right to conduct the oil and gas operations on the property. At the hearing, the judge heard testimony from several of the client's representatives, as well as landowner witnesses about the work to be done and the agreements in place to allow such work. After hearing the evidence, the judge granted the preliminary injunction precluding the landowners from any further interference in the oil and gas operations at the site.

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