Pipelines / Transportation

Pipelines constitute the primary mode of transportation of oil and gas from the point of production to points where oil and gas will be used or processed.  Copeland & Rice attorneys have handled a range of commercial disputes, property damage disputes, and wrongful death/personal injury disputes arising from damage to and the rupture or explosion of one or more pipelines.

Representative Pipeline experience includes:

  • Served as co-lead trial counsel in defending Colonial Pipeline Company in the first case to be tried arising from the rupture of four petroleum pipelines and the largest inland gasoline spill in U.S. history and a large fire; the plaintiffs claimed personal injuries and property damage, and sought millions in compensatory and punitive damages.  Following a 12-week trial, a Jefferson County (Beaumont), Texas, jury rendered a unanimous verdict of no liability and causation on behalf of Colonial Pipeline.  These plaintiffs were part of a larger group of 17,000 persons who brought suit in more than 40 lawsuits filed in five counties; the trial was selected by The National Law Journal as the nation’s top environmental/toxic tort defense victory in one of 15 cases in various categories receiving similar recognition.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a pipeline company in a suit brought by the owner of a petrochemical facility, claiming $12 million in property damage and lost profits allegedly attributable to a business interruption caused by a pipeline spill and fire.
  • Represented the owner and operator of a large natural gas pipeline that was struck by a third-party contractor resulting in an explosion that killed one person and injured others and resulted in multiple lawsuits and regulatory action. Involvement began in the immediate aftermath of the incident and continued through the resolution of the litigation matters.
  • Served as lead counsel in defending Colonial Pipeline Company against claims brought under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 for the recovery of approximately $10 million in costs incurred in cleaning up a large oil spill and for possible penalties.  Suit was brought by the United States on behalf of the Coast Guard against the pipeline company, and the case was settled shortly before trial on a basis very favorable to Colonial.
  • Represented joint venture owner of pipeline in suit brought by construction company claiming breach of contract and fraud, and seeking $120 million in damages, arising from a construction project covering a 95 mile segment of a 20 inch crude oil pipeline.

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.