On Sept. 1, 365th District Judge Amado J. Abascal III of Crystal City issued a final judgment in favor of Mikal Watts’ client Longview Energy Co. in a case involving the Eagle Ford shale play.

The final judgment in Longview Energy Co. v. Huff Energy Fund LP, et al. awards Longview $95.5 million. Watts, of Watts Guerra Craft in San Antonio, was lead counsel in the suit. Craig Florence, a partner in Gardere Wynne Sewell in Dallas, also represented Longview.

In its May 18 petition, Longview alleged “two faithless corporate directors” had “hijacked corporate opportunities worth hundreds of millions of dollars for their own gain.” The defendants included Longview Energy Co. directors William R. “Bill” Huff and Rick D’Angelo, the Huff Energy Fund and the Riley-Huff Energy Group. In the petition, Longview alleged Huff and D’Angelo breached their fiduciary duties and usurped corporate opportunities. Longview’s allegations against all the defendants included misappropriation of trade secrets; tortious interference with a prospective business relationship; fraud; aiding and abetting in commission of those torts; and conspiracy.

In a June 6 answer, the defendants denied the allegations and claimed Longview “lacked the financial resources to fund the alleged lost ‘investment opportunities,’ ” lacked the authority to do so, and had “ offset” any damages incurred with investment gains. They argued the plaintiff could not trace “by strict proof or otherwise” that something had been misappropriated from it.

After six weeks of depositions and a two-and-a-half week trial, a jury returned a June 2 verdict finding that Huff and D’Angelo had breached their fiduciary duties and that Huff Energy Fund and Riley-Huff Energy Group had “knowingly participated” in that breach. The jury assessed the market value of the past production revenues that derived from the Eagle Ford shale assets acquired by Huff Energy Fund and Riley-Huff Energy Group at $120 million.

In his Sept. 1 final judgment, Abascal ruled the plaintiffs take nothing against the two individually named defendants about whom the jury was not asked. But he ordered that Huff and D’Angelo, along with the corporate defendants, are jointly and severally liable for the damages.

Fulbright & Jaworski senior counsel Dean Fleming of San Antonio represented all the defendants. He sent an email on behalf of Bryan Bloom, in-house counsel for The Huff Cos., that reads: “The jury’s verdict valued property and production revenues at $162 million, but also found that the cost of acquisition and development was $151.5 million. Thus, any judgment should not be in excess of $10.5 million. This can be ascertained from a simple reading of the jury verdict form. . . . The Defendants intend to vigorously appeal and look forward to having an independent and learned appellate court review the case and correctly apply the law.”

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