First up is an appellate team led by lawyers at Alston & Bird and Alexander Dubose & Jefferson that got a major win at the Texas Supreme Court last week in the court’s first substantive look at a force majeure clause in an oil and gas contract. The decision, which reversed an interim appellate court, was a win for their client Point Energy Partners Permian. The court held that MRC Permian’s loss of its lease from Point Energy due to a failure to meet a drilling deadline in 2017 was the result of MRC’s own calendaring error—not, as MRC claimed, an event of “wellbore instability” which it argued constituted a force majeure event that would extend the deadline. Former Texas Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson and  Alston & Bird’s Rob Vartabedian handled oral argument for Point Energy. The team also included Conrad Hester, Connor Bourland, Alix Allison and Emily Fitzgerald of Alston & Bird, Scott Brister of Hunton Andrews Kurth, Craig Haynes of Holland & Knight, and solo practitioner Greg Holly.

Ashok Ramani, David Lisson and their team at Davis Polk & Wardwell get a runner-up spot for knocking out patent claims that client Comcast faced for integrating Netflix and other over-the-top apps into its X1 platform. After a week-long trial in the Middle District of Florida, U.S. District Judge Judge William Jung granted their motion for a judgment as a matter of law finding Comcast didn’t infringe a patent held by WhereverTV for an interactive program guide. WhereverTV, which was funded by Longford Capital, had been seeking $177 million. The Davis Polk team also included associates Serge Voronov, Kathryn Bi, Alena Farber, Micayla Hardisty and Elaine Andersen, with Weil, Gotshal & Manges providing appellate advice to Comcast and Traci McKee of Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath serving as local counsel.

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