Energy Litigation

Davis Polk represents a number of the largest and most innovative energy and utility companies across such sectors as oil and gas, renewable energy, coal, and electric power, as well as in mining and metals, in connection with the full range of litigation challenges that confront them, including criminal and regulatory investigations and enforcement actions, mass tort and products liability actions, antitrust and intellectual property matters, and securities and corporate governance litigation. We also routinely advise energy companies conducting independent investigations and compliance reviews.

Our clients have included BHP Billiton, Consolidated Edison, CNOOC Limited, ExxonMobil, First Wind, Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Patriot Coal, and Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co., among other companies, as well as individuals.

Notable Matters

  • We handled all matters for Con Edison, one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the United States, arising out of Superstorm Sandy, representing the company and its senior executives in an investigation by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Moreland Commission into the company’s preparedness and response related to the storm, which struck New York in late October 2012. 
  • We successfully represented Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., the manufacturer of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, in the multidistrict litigation in the Eastern District of Louisiana arising out of the Gulf oil spill; HHI was dropped from the litigation with no liability and paying no settlement amount.
  • We advised Patriot Coal Corporation, a leading producer and marketer of coal in the eastern United States, in connection with its reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code and in significant litigation before various courts, securing victory for Patriot following a lengthy and contentious trial against the United Mine Workers of America.
  • We secured an important victory for our client, an Argentinean joint venture, in an international ICC arbitration brought by a major multinational energy company involving a long-term natural resource supply contract between the parties.
  • We advise one of the world’s largest natural resources companies on FCPA compliance issues and represent the company in negotiations with regulatory authorities both in the United States and overseas.
  • We helped wind energy company First Wind Holdings, LLC emerge unscathed from the demise of a key turbine supplier, Clipper Windpower, which was spun off of United Technologies Corporation and unwound, sending shock waves through the wind power industry. The Davis Polk litigation team launched an all-fronts litigation strategy that involved simultaneous lawsuits in three states and a AAA arbitration proceeding, and was able to achieve a favorable solution for First Wind that enabled the company to minimize the disruption caused by Clipper’s failure.
  • We provided antitrust advice to CNOOC Limited, China’s largest producer of offshore crude oil and natural gas and one of the largest independent oil and gas exploration and production companies in the world, in connection with its approximately $15.1 billion acquisition of Nexen, an independent Canadian global energy company.
  • We represented ExxonMobil in connection with shareholder litigation challenging its acquisition of XTO Energy in the Court of Chancery, Texas state court, and Texas federal court, litigating through expedited discovery and motion practice to ultimately reach settlement prior to a preliminary injunction hearing.
  • We advised one of the world’s largest ethanol producers and fuel distributors on the intellectual property and antitrust aspects of a multi-billion-dollar joint venture for the production of sugar, ethanol, and power as well as for the supply, distribution, and sale of fuels.
  • We successfully had class certification denied in the major consolidated litigation against Con Edison arising out of a 2007 steam explosion in midtown Manhattan, including actions by area businesses and high-rise buildings for cleanup costs, lost profits, and property damage, as well as actions by individuals for personal injury and emotional and psychological distress. As a result, over 300 separate cases, with total claimed damages in the hundreds of millions of dollars, were put before a single judge in one of the largest consolidated litigations in the New York state courts.
  • We have handled a number of significant internal investigations and criminal investigations of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, U.S. Trading Sanctions, and securities laws on behalf of (confidential) energy-sector clients.