Litigation

Day Carter Murphy LLP’s experienced litigators protect clients’ rights in state, federal, and administrative courts throughout California. Collectively, DCM’s attorneys offer sixty years of experience litigating disputes particular to the oil, gas, mining, energy, wind, solar, and natural resources fields. This industry-specific expertise enables DCM’s litigators to more effectively advocate for clients. DCM’s attorneys have a heightened ability to explain and describe complex industry issues and subjects to judges, arbitrators, mediators, and opposing parties in a clear and persuasive manner.

While DCM’s litigators are frequently successful in resolving disputes short of trial, they are also very familiar with the courtroom. DCM’s attorneys litigate temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions and dispositive motions, and try cases in the courtroom before judges and juries. DCM’s litigators handle appeals after trial and have successfully argued before numerous appellate courts throughout the state, leading to some of the more recent published oil and gas appellate decisions in California.

The following is a representative list of subject areas where the Firm has successfully handled litigation:

  • Adverse possession
  • Boundary disputes
  • CEQA and NEPA issues
  • Complex Contracts
  • Condemnation and eminent domain proceedings
  • Confidentiality agreements
  • Consulting agreements
  • Construction-related issues, including design defects
  • COPAS accounting issues
  • DOGGR regulations
  • Dormant Minerals Act actions
  • Exploration agreements
  • Express and implied covenants associated with exploration and development
  • Farm-out agreements
  • Gas marketing agreements
  • Gas storage leasing and permitting
  • Joint operating agreements
  • Landlord/tenant issues
  • Lease disputes
  • Natural gas pipeline ownership and operating issues
  • Options to lease or purchase property or mineral rights
  • Quiet title actions
  • Royalty valuation
  • Scope of easements and related issues
  • Solar leases
  • Solar power purchase agreements
  • Seismic permitting
  • Surface access issues
  • Tax valuation issues
  • Title disputes
  • Trade secret disputes
  • Unit and pooling agreements
  • Well abandonment obligations
  • Wind leases
  • Wind power purchase agreements

REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS

Represented oil and gas companies before County Board of Supervisors and County Planning Commissions on issues involving the drilling of wells and seismic permits, together with related potential litigation.

Represented oil and gas companies in matters before the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources in connection with the securing of drilling permits and related matters, including in connection with a $150 million development project after the Division initially responded to Notices of Intent to Rework Wells by holding the drilling permits in abeyance.

Litigated multiple disputes before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), including appeals of CPUC decisions.

Represented public utility in acquisition by eminent domain of property rights necessary for the construction and operation of a natural gas storage project.

Represented public entities, oil and gas companies, and private individuals in eminent domain actions.

Represented oil and gas companies in property tax disputes relating to valuation of mineral interests.

Obtained favorable judgment and $500,000 attorney’s fees award for clients on breach of confidentiality agreement and misappropriation of trade secret dispute.

Represented client in successful opposition to interlocutory appeal of a discovery sanctions order before the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District.  (Feather River etc. v. The Fremont-Rideout Health Group, Case Number C044559.)

Obtained reversal and remand on unsettled issue of equitable tolling of the statute of limitations before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of client asserting petition for writ of habeas corpus.  (Sanchez v. Cambra (9th Cir. 2001) 34 Fed. Appx. 251.)

Successfully defended oil and gas exploration and production company against attempt to imply a covenant of further exploration into oil and gas lease, resulting in a published California Appellate Court decision. (Lundin/Weber Co. v. Brea Oil Co. (2004) 117 Cal.App.4th 427.)

Obtained dismissal with prejudice after opening statements at trial in action relating to breach of mineral grant deed, slander of title, breach of fiduciary duty and constructive trust.

Represented oil and gas and energy companies in litigation regarding a broad range of real property title disputes, including quiet title actions, adverse possession and prescriptive rights claims, and Dormant Mineral Act actions.

Represented oil and gas and energy companies in surface access and surface use disputes, including filing of temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions, as well as negotiating resolutions short of litigation.

Represented joint powers agency with primary responsibility to provide flood protection to the City of West Sacramento in the acquisition of property rights for flood control works.

Represented major and independent oil and gas and energy companies in a broad range of transactional and operational disputes involving, for example, joint operating agreements, area of mutual interest agreements, exploration agreements, oil and gas leases, confidentiality agreements, pipeline and marketing agreements, and well abandonment and related environmental issues.

Represented oil and gas and energy companies in litigation and alternative dispute resolution processes concerning royalty disputes, COPAS accounting procedures, post-production deductions, and related accounting issues.

Represented municipal utility in acquisitions by eminent domain of rights necessary for construction and operation of a large-scale windpower facility, including wind turbine generators, collection lines, and related substation facilities.

Obtained favorable appellate decision before the First District Court of Appeal holding that the scope of a county road right-of-way includes the right to install natural gas pipelines. (Bello v. ABA Energy Corp. (2004) 121 Cal.App.4th 301.)

Represented project applicant in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on claims under the Clean Air Act.

Represented Raley’s grocery chain in appeal relating to agency authority issues for partnership Super Store Industries.  (Raley’s v. Winter (2000) Third District Court of Appeals Case No. C030711.)

Represented oil and gas company in appeal of Kern County’s taxation of non-producing oil, gas and mineral rights.  (California Minerals, L.P. v. County of Kern (2007) 152 Cal.App.4th 1016.)

Obtained favorable trial court ruling that was affirmed on appeal granting motion to quash service of summons on oil and gas company based on running of the statute of limitations.  (Horan v. Key Production Co. (2002) 2002 Cal.App.Unpub. LEXIS 9466.)

Represent clients in real property litigation, including disputes relating to easement rights, adverse possession and purchase and sale agreements.

Represented client in dispute involving claims of interference and unfair business practices based on client’s taking of a top lease.

Represented client in dispute involving termination of oil and gas lease due to cessation of production.

Represent clients in personal injury actions arising from oil field operations, including premises liability and defective design issues.

Represent clients in Probate court to resolve title and other matters relating to oil and gas interests that are held or distributed pursuant to trusts or wills.

Represented clients that have suspended the payment of royalties by interpleading the funds with the Court pending resolution of the related title dispute.

Represented underground natural gas storage operator in eminent domain action to acquire underground gas storage rights through jury trial and appeal.  (Central Valley Gas Storage, LLC v. Southam, et al. (2017) 11 Cal.App.5th 686.)