HOUSTON – The Texas Supreme Court upheld a take-nothing judgment won by Wright & Close lawyers for insurance company clients when the court refused to rehear a case involving who was liable for costs related to well blowouts.
Lawyers with the firm represented Gemini Insurance Co. and Berkley Oil & Gas Specialty Services LLC, two insurers that were sued by an oilfield services company that sought payment for equipment used to shore up a well after it suffered two blowouts.
Wright & Close lawyer Russell Hollenbeck told the news service Law360 that he and the firm’s clients were "pleased with this result, and pleased that the appeals court followed the law and interpreted the policy correctly."
Law360 reported on the Supreme Court rejection of the case in an article headlined, “Texas Justices Won't Hear $9.6M Well-Blowout Coverage Row” (subscription required).
The news outlet also covered the Texas 4th Court of Appeals’ decision in 2016 to reverse a jury verdict’s award of $9.63 million to oilfield services company Drilling Risk Management Inc. Mr. Hollenbeck said the appeals court fairly applied the provisions of the insurance policy “to the largely undisputed facts and evidence in the case.”
The oilfield services company was an additional insured on a policy that covered events such as blowouts and subsequent costs. However, the appellate court determined the company would have incurred those costs anyway because of pre-existing geologic conditions at the site.
In addition to Mr. Hollenbeck, the insurers were represented by Wright & Close co-founder Thomas C. Wright and associates Natasha Taylor and Andrea Geohegan; and George Lugrin, Reece Rondon and Amanda Kujda of Hall Maines Lugrin PC.
The case is Gemini Insurance Co. et al. v. Drilling Risk Management Inc., case number 04-15-00318-CV, in the Texas Court of Appeals for the 4th District.