Charles Conrad scored an unusual victory last month with a final judgment in his clients’ favor based on a directed verdict. But he also welcomed the conclusion because he began working on the case almost as soon as he started practicing in 2003. “It was a relief,” Conrad, a director in Coats|Rose says.

On Oct. 25, Judge William J. Burke Jr. of the 189th District issued a final judgment based on the directed verdict for the defendants in a breach of contract case.

In an amended petition and request for declaratory judgment filed on July 28, 2011, in Peter Paul Petroleum Co., et al. v. James W. Trenz, et al., the plaintiffs alleged they were a “party” to relevant litigation with the defendants in Oklahoma that concluded with a more than $800,000 judgment against one of the plaintiffs in Peter Paul. In the amended petition, the plaintiffs claim that they had been “judicially barred” from the Oklahoma trial, and therefore they needed further relief to have James W. Trenz and his company meet contractual obligations to them, dating from 1997, to pay them for proceeds from an oil and gas operation in Oklahoma. Specifically in the petition, the plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment affirming that the alleged contract was enforceable and that the damages they incurred were as a result of its alleged breach.

In an answer filed May 2, 2008, the defendants denied the allegations and argued that the Oklahoma suit had resolved the matter. They also alleged the Peter Paul suit was frivolous.

Alistair Dawson, a partner in Houston’s Beck, Redden & Secrest, who represents the plaintiffs, says, “During the course of the trial, it became clear that the trial judge didn’t like our case.” That reaction doesn’t stop him from offering praise for Conrad, about whom Dawson says: “Charles is a fine lawyer. He did a great job. He represented his client very well and zealously and ultimately convinced the judge to go his way.” Dawson says his clients do not plan to appeal.

In his final judgment, Burke wrote that “reasonable minds can only draw one conclusion. . . .” Specifically, he wrote that the individual who the plaintiffs had alleged had bound Trenz and his company to a contract “lacked the authority to do so.”

Conrad says, “I fought this case for the better part of my career, and I don’t think for a long time I could ever get the [189th District] judge’s attention about the case in Oklahoma.” But when he did, Conrad says, he won his directed verdict leading to the favorable final judgment.

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