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Oil & Gas Litigation

Bowles Rice has long been recognized as the go-to law firm in the energy industry in the Appalachian Basin, serving clients since 1920. Today, lawyers and support staff, with a wealth of knowledge and experience regarding the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays, are assisting the firm's energy clients throughout the region. 

The backbone of Bowles Rice lies within a strong tradition of providing litigation support to our energy clients, and our energy litigators stay current with emerging issues related to the energy industry.

We have acted as legal counsel in title disputes, oil and gas lease violation disputes, including royalty disputes, exploration and development and production obligations.  We also are skilled in advising clients in gas contract litigation matters and litigation arising out of the sale and purchase of oil and gas properties.  Our lawyers have extensive experience in both prosecuting and defending quiet title actions involving mineral properties, trespass, partition actions, and preliminary and permanent injunctions.

As a full-service law firm, our Litigation Team also coordinates with our environmental lawyers to handle regulatory cases before the Public Service Commission, Office of Oil and Gas, the Surface Mine Board, the Air Quality Board and the Environmental Quality Board.  A large part of our Team's experience involves water pollution issues, and in particular ground water hydrology. This experience is in various activities, including mining and quarrying and landfills and industrial facilities.

Our clients represent a broad and diverse cross section of the oil and gas industry and include companies involved in exploration and production, engineering, environmental, construction, well-services and operations, and midstream and pipeline. We represent small utilities and land holding companies as well.

Our litigators have tried cases in both state and federal courts. 

Bowles Rice lawyers also provide risk management support for clients seeking to proactively reduce their risk of litigation. 

We have seven offices located throughout the region, in Charleston, Martinsburg, Morgantown, Parkersburg, and Wheeling, West Virginia; Southpointe, Pennsylvania; and Winchester, Virginia.  The strategic location of these offices also allows us to regularly serve clients in the states of Kentucky, Ohio and Maryland.

Representative Work:

  • Prosecuted preliminary and permanent injunctions to halt interference with natural gas operations;
  • Litigated cases involving breach of contract, breach of lease agreements, right-of-way disputes, condemnation, trespass and royalty disputes;
  • Defended oil and gas companies in actions related to natural gas pipeline acquisition and use;
  • Represented oil and gas companies in employee safety/deliberate intent cases; and
  • Litigated condemnation actions related to permanent pipeline easements and well road easements.

Representative Cases:

  • Trans Energy, et al. v. EQT Production Company, Civil Action No. 1:11-cv-75-FPS-JES, Northern District of West Virginia, United States District Court:  Favorable decision in a declaratory judgment action regarding oil and gas rights.
  • Williams Ohio Valley Midstream, LLC v. George Schybal. Civil Action No. 12-CV-0476, Court of Common Pleas of Belmont County, OH: Obtained permanent injunction allowing company full, free and uninterrupted use of right-of-way including, but not limited, to right to construct additional pipelines for the transportation of natural gas.
  • David Gobel,  et al., v. Petroleum Development Corporation, Civil Action No. 09-C-40-2, Circuit Court of Harrison County, WV:  Favorable resolution of a class action case alleging failure to pay royalties.
  • Terra Firma Company v. Robert Morgan, et al., Civil Action No. 06-C-13, Circuit Court of Monongalia County, WV:  Action for ejectment of defendants who previously sold subject tract to Terra Firma.  Obtained summary judgment denying counterclaim by defendants for rescission and/or reformation of purchase agreement at a higher price based on defendants' allegation of fraud. Subsequently affirmed by the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.
  • Consolidation Coal Company v. David Joe Cunningham, et al., Civil Action No. 09-C-466, Circuit Court of Marion County, WV:  Obtained partition order allotting Consolidation Coal Company the adverse interest in the Pittsburgh coal underlying the subject  tract together with mining rights, including the right to subside.
  • Consolidation Coal Company v. The Unknown Heirs of Evelyn Graham, et al., Civil Action No. 09-C-435, Circuit Court of Ed Broome, Inc., on behalf of itself and others similarly situated v. XTO Energy, Inc. and Linn Energy Holdings, LLC, Civil Action No. 1:09-CV-147, Northern District of West Virginia, United States District Court:  Favorable resolution of a class action case alleging underpayment of royalties.
  • Marion County, WV:  Obtained partition order allotting Consolidation Coal Company the outstanding adverse interest in the Pittsburgh coal underlying the subject tract together with mining rights, including the right to subside.
  • Consolidation Coal Company v. The Unknown Heirs of Nancy A. Cartright, et al., Civil Action No. 11-C-270, Circuit Court of Marion County, WV:  Obtained order quieting title and recognizing Consolidation Coal Company as the owner of 100 percent of the Pittsburgh coal underlying the subject tract.
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