A dispute arose between parties to an oil and gas acquisition. The buyer was facing a potential $40 million liability in a breach of contract action brought by the seller because of an alleged failure to properly bond offshore assets. While bonds were provided, the seller argued they were not the specific type of bonds that were negotiated.
Faced with an adverse motion for summary judgment on liability, the buyer approached the seller to settle the case. Opposing counsel refused to participate in mediation, stating that there was no need to discuss settlement since they were going to win at the summary judgment stage. After initially retaining an international law firm, the buyer hired the Houston office of Bradley to solve what appeared to be an impossible situation – a looming summary judgment and an opposing party that refused to negotiate.
The Bradley team of Jim Collura, Thomas Richie, Justin Scott and Nathan Graham knew they needed a unique and creative strategy for a win. The team analyzed the case from the ground up and focused on the fact that the seller was not injured as a result of the alleged breach.
The Bradley attorneys argued that since an event triggering performance under the bonds had not occurred, there was no injury. Further, unless and until the existing bonds failed and a cascade of other problems occurred, there would be no injury in the future.
Bradley went on the offensive with its own summary judgment, arguing that the lack of an injury meant that the seller could not meet an essential element of the claim. This uncommon strategy was the emphasis of Bradley’s discovery and arguments. Bradley’s attorneys argued in briefing and oral argument that without the critical element of injury, the seller’s claims fail under Texas law. The trial court agreed, denied the seller’s summary judgment and granted Bradley’s summary judgment which resulted in a dismissal with prejudice of the seller’s claims.
The Bradley team’s strategy and hard work paid off, resulting in a solution to what seemed an impossible situation.