Contract Disputes

  • Phillips v. Carlton Energy Group, LLC, 475 S.W.3d 265 (Tex. 2015). In October 2000, the Republic of Bulgaria granted a three-year concession to a company to allow it to explore for coalbed methane. That company partnered with Carlton Energy Group to obtain investment funding and Carlton offered an investment opportunity to Dallas businessman Gene Phillips. But, as the Texas Supreme Court opinion recounts, Phillips and his companies began working to supplant Carlton in the project, ultimately convincing the original company to claim that Carlton had violated the working agreement and terminating Carlton from the project. Carlton’s principals began looking for attorneys who could handle a plaintiff’s contingency-fee tortious interference case. Fred Hagans was the name they consistently heard. After a six week trial, the jury returned a verdict in Carlton’s favor. In 2012, the First Court of Appeals affirmed the jury’s verdict. In 2013, the Texas Supreme Court affirmed the majority of the verdict, but remanded one issue. In 2016, the First Court of Appeals affirmed again. In 2019, the Texas Supreme Court denied the defendants’ request for additional review. The case ultimately settled while the defendants’ request for rehearing was pending before the Texas Supreme Court.
  • A Houston lawyer agreed with his law school classmate and friend to work on cases arising out of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. When the Houston lawyer realized he was not being paid pursuant to the agreement, he called HMH. The case was tried for two weeks. The jury agreed that HMH’s client had a contract, agreed with the terms and percentages that HMH promised at the start of the case to prove to the jury, and awarded the Houston lawyer his full compensation; plus reimbursed all of his attorneys’ fees.
  • When an oil and gas company started a massive fire while performing seismic work in Montague County, one of the largest property owners turned to HMH to sue the oil and gas company due to over 500 acres of the family’s property being badly burned. The oil and gas company had entered into a unique contract with the property owner: “Lessee shall restore the surface of the affected Leased Premises to as near its original condition as is reasonably practicable.” Knowing that the cost to fully restore—with identical fully grown trees—would be over $20 million, HMH helped the family reach a settlement with the oil and gas company that helped them restore the parts of the land that meant the most to them.