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Paul C. Thibodeaux

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Paul C. Thibodeaux, a shareholder in Baker Donelson's New Orleans office, concentrates his practice in energy, environmental, construction, mass tort and class action litigation, and intellectual property matters.

Featured Experience

Represented an international drilling contractor in the defense of claims arising out of the BP oil spill multi-district litigation. Focused on complex technical matters involving geology, well design and construction, subsea blowout preventers, drilling operations, well control, production and source control. Took more than 50 depositions involving the aforementioned issues, was responsible for managing numerous expert reports, and prepared multiple witnesses for trial. Actively participated in the Phase One and Two trials, which lasted a total of four months.

Represented an oil refiner in the defense of hundreds of class action property damage, personal injury and groundwater contamination claims arising from the largest land-based oil spill in Louisiana history, and at the time the largest oil spill in the U.S. since the Exxon Valdez. The oil spill was the result of widespread flooding associated with Hurricane Katrina, which caused a crude oil storage tank to breach and release thousands of gallons of crude oil in the neighboring residential community. The class certification hearing lasted a week and included the parties' presentation of multiple geotechnical, hydrological and mechanical experts. The claims area certified was much smaller than what the plaintiffs were seeking, resulting in a cost savings of hundreds of millions of dollars. The claims were successfully settled prior to trial.

Represented a major oil producer regarding damage to its production spar caused by the installation of defective, Chinese-manufactured bolts. The case involved complex structural engineering and metallurgy issues. It was successfully tried before a judge in federal court over the course of two weeks, resulting in a multi-million dollar award for the client, including attorney fees and costs.

Professional Biography

Overview

Mr. Thibodeaux's engineering background assists him in the defense and prosecution of cases involving complex failure-analyses and technical-based claims. He is also a registered patent attorney with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Mr. Thibodeaux has experience in many high-profile engineering failure cases such as the BP oil spill multi-district litigation, the Chinese drywall multi-district litigation and the Hurricane Katrina-related Murphy oil spill class action litigation. He has also participated in the successful defense and prosecution of numerous jury trials involving complex engineering-related issues, including multi-million dollar jury verdicts in favor of energy industry clients involving the misappropriation of proprietary information and the installation of defective products on an oil production spar. Additionally, Mr. Thibodeaux has handled multiple environmental cases regarding refinery explosions and emissions, including Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act claims.

Representative Matters
  • Represented an international drilling contractor in the defense of claims arising out of the BP oil spill multi-district litigation. Focused on complex technical matters involving geology, well design and construction, subsea blowout preventers, drilling operations, well control, production and source control. Took more than 50 depositions involving the aforementioned issues, was responsible for managing numerous expert reports, and prepared multiple witnesses for trial. Actively participated in the Phase One and Two trials, which lasted a total of four months.

  • Represented an oil refiner in the defense of hundreds of class action property damage, personal injury and groundwater contamination claims arising from the largest land-based oil spill in Louisiana history, and at the time the largest oil spill in the U.S. since the Exxon Valdez. The oil spill was the result of widespread flooding associated with Hurricane Katrina, which caused a crude oil storage tank to breach and release thousands of gallons of crude oil in the neighboring residential community. The class certification hearing lasted a week and included the parties' presentation of multiple geotechnical, hydrological and mechanical experts. The claims area certified was much smaller than what the plaintiffs were seeking, resulting in a cost savings of hundreds of millions of dollars. The claims were successfully settled prior to trial.

  • Represented a major oil producer regarding damage to its production spar caused by the installation of defective, Chinese-manufactured bolts. The case involved complex structural engineering and metallurgy issues. It was successfully tried before a judge in federal court over the course of two weeks, resulting in a multi-million dollar award for the client, including attorney fees and costs.

  • Represented a large seismic surveying company regarding claims that a competitor fraudulently misappropriated confidential information and trade secrets when the parties worked together to produce customized lithium batteries for a seismic surveying device. The case involved complex mechanical engineering and chemistry issues. A successful jury trial was held over the course of two weeks, resulting in a multi-million dollar award for the client and a subsequent settlement prior to appeal.
  • Represented an international building products manufacturer in the defense of thousands of class action claims associated with its allegedly defective Chinese-manufactured drywall. The multi-district litigation was assigned to the Eastern District of Louisiana, and involved complex issues regarding construction, product liability and international law. After conducting several bellwether trials, a settlement was reached.

  • Represented oil field operators, service contractors and vessel owners in the defense of personal injury and wrongful death claims made pursuant to the Jones Act, Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and maritime law.
  • Represented an oil producer in litigation stemming from plaintiffs' claims that oil and gas production and refining was responsible for global climate change. The claims were successfully dismissed through motion practice.
  • Represented an oil refiner in a London arbitration regarding an insurer's refusal to consent to a class action settlement agreement and pay covered claims. After a week-long arbitration, the panel ruled against the insurer, finding that it unreasonably withheld consent and payment. The panel ordered the insurer to reimburse the client on all indemnified claims, along with attorney fees and costs.

  • Represented an oil refiner regarding class action exposure and property damage claims associated with a major fire in the refinery's crude unit. After class certification was defeated, the case was settled for a sum less than the cost of defense.

  • Represented a paper manufacturer regarding a river discharge that resulted in a large fish kill.
  • Represented an oil refiner in the defense of hundreds of Clean Air Act permit violation claims brought by a law school environmental law clinic on behalf of refinery neighbors, including parallel enforcement proceedings undertaken by the state environmental regulator.
  • Represented major oil companies regarding Louisiana oil field legacy suits.
  • Represented an oil refiner in an arbitration regarding an insurer's refusal to pay a claim for which indemnity was sought. The issue was whether a fire that spread throughout a refinery and resulted in the evacuation of the neighboring community and damage to private property constituted a single or multiple occurrence. The panel ruled against the insurer and ordered it to pay up to the policy limits.
  • Represented an oil pipeline company regarding a subsurface pipe rupture and gas leak, including the successful completion of a consent decree process with the state environmental regulator.
  • Represented oil refiners regarding contractor and employee personal injury claims.
  • Represented oil platform and rig operators, vessel owners and dock owners regarding property damage and economic loss claims resulting from collisions and allisions.
  • Represented an oil refiner regarding an unregulated discharge of diesel into a navigable river. The representation included the successful completion of the state regulatory compliance and enforcement process.
  • Represented an oil refiner regarding class action exposure and Clean Air Act claims concerning a release of sulfur dioxide from the refinery's sulfur unit. The claims were successfully dismissed through pre-trial motion practice.
Professional Honors & Activities
  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Listed as a Louisiana Rising Star in Louisiana Super Lawyers in Class Action (2016, 2017)
  • Member – American and Louisiana Bar Associations
  • Member – American Society of Civil Engineers
  • Member – Louisiana Professional Engineering and Land Surveying Board, EIT
  • Member – American Intellectual Property Law Association
Publications
  • Co-author – "The Safe Drilling Margin: Lessons Learned from the Macondo Blowout," LOGA Industry Report (Summer 2015)
  • Co-author – "BP Oil Spill Lessons Learned," Energy Executive (Spring 2015)
  • Co-author – "Supreme Court's CAFA Decision Changes Law in Fifth Circuit," American Bar Association's Pretrial Practice & Discovery (June, 2014)
Speaking Engagements
  • "IvenTank: Five Steps for Inventing and Licensing," New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (March, 2014)

Industries

Education

  • Tulane University Law School, J.D., 2004
  • Louisiana State University, B.S. in Civil Engineering, 2000

Admissions

  • Louisiana
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Registered Patent Attorney
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana

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