M. Taylor Darden

Member

M. Taylor Darden is a founding partner of the firm, with an active oil and gas based practice. He received his Bachelor of Arts in 1974, and his Juris Doctor in 1977, both from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Mr. Darden is a former member of the Advisory Council for the Louisiana Mineral Law Institute, where he served two terms as its Chairman (1990-92). He also served a two-year term on the Louisiana Law Institute (1991-92) and was later appointed as a member of the Institute’s subcommittee for the revision of the Louisiana Oil Well Lien Act (1992-1995). Over the years, he has been active in the alumni affairs of the LSU Law School, and in 1995 served as President of its alumni association. Mr. Darden practices oil and gas litigation with emphasis on technical and operational disputes among working interest owners. He also handles expropriation litigation, land management and general oil and gas advices concerning mineral leasing, land use and exploitation and royalty collection, indemnity and insurance coverage disputes, general commercial litigation, and the negotiation, preparation and review of joint venture and joint operating agreements, exploration and participation agreements, farm in and farm out agreements, gas balancing agreements, drilling contracts, and gas purchase and sales contracts. In October 2005, Mr. Darden was inducted as a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Contact Info

Year Admitted to Practice

1977

Education

Louisiana State University, B.A. 1974; Louisiana State University Law Center, J.D. 1977.

Affiliations

Advisory Council of the Louisiana Mineral Law Institute (1988-1992 and 1994-1997), Chairman (1990-1992); Council of the Louisiana Law Institute (1990-1992); American Bar Association (Natural Resources and Environmental Law Section, Litigation Section);Fifth Circuit Bar Association; Louisiana State Bar Association; New Orleans Bar Association; Professional Landmen's Association of New Orleans (Board member); Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers.

Areas of Practice

Bar Admissions

All Louisiana state and federal courts; United States Supreme Court; United States Court of Claims; United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.

Honors

Advisory Council of the Louisiana Mineral Law Institute (1988-1992 and 1994-1997), Chairman (1990-1992); Council of the Louisiana Law Institute (1990-1992); American Bar Association (Natural Resources and Environmental Law Section, Litigation Section);Fifth Circuit Bar Association; Louisiana State Bar Association; New Orleans Bar Association; Professional Landmen's Association of New Orleans (Board member); Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers.

Publications

Current Problems Under the Louisiana Oil Well Lien Statute, 31st Annual Institute on Mineral Law (1984); A New Look at the Implied Obligations, 34th Annual Institute on Mineral Law (1986). Lien On Me: Comfort and Security in Oilfield Privileges. An Annotated Outline to the 1995 Amendment of the Louisiana Oil Well Lien (Privilege) Act, La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 9:4861 - 4873, Seventh Annual Oil and Gas Seminar, Professional Landmen's Association of New Orleans(1995).

Representative Cases

Aguillard v. Chevron U.S.A. Inc., 496 F. Supp. 1038, 1980 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13552 (M.D. La. 1980).  Successfully represented Chevron in upholding Chevron’s removal of case to federal court on the ground that plaintiff had fraudulently joined a party-plaintiff.

Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Aguillard, 496 F. Supp. 1031 (M.D. La. 1980). Successfully obtained declaratory judgment for Chevron that farmoutee was not an indispensable party in action to determining validity of lease as against lessor.

Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Robert W. Salsman, Jr., et al., 582 F. Supp. 1174, 1984 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18597 (M.D. La. 1984); aff’d 750 F.2d 67, 1984 U.S. App. LEXIS 16198 (5th Cir.1984) Successfully defended Chevron against lease cancellation action.

Cleere Drilling Company v. Dominion Exploration & Production, Inc., 351 F.3d 642 (5th Cir. 2003); 158 Oil & Gas Rep. 933, C.A.5 (Tex.); 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4424 (N.D. Tex. 2002); Successfully defended Dominion in claim for amounts due under drilling contract and prosecuted counterclaim for damages resulting from blowout of well which drilling contractor was drilling under a footage contract.

Illinois Central Railroad Company v. 16.032 Acres of Land in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, Hickory Avenue, L.L.C., John Cutrera, Jr. and Keith Bourgeois, 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3324 (E.D. La. 2000).  Obtained $2.9 million jury verdict (plus attorney’s fees and costs) for Hickory Avenue, L.L.C. in connection with expropriation of certain land located in Jefferson Parish Louisiana.

JHJ Limited I v. Chevron U.S.A. Inc., 806 F.2d 82, 1986 U.S. App. LEXIS 34891 (5th Cir. 1986); cert. denied 481 U.S. 1029, 95 L. Ed. 2d 527, 107 S. Ct. 1954, 1987 U.S. LEXIS 1852, 55 U.S.L.W. 3730 (1987).  Represented Chevron in defense of oil and gas lien asserted against a producing mineral lease.

Pittencrieff Resources, Inc. v. Firstland Offshore Exploration Co., 942 F. Supp. 271, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15387, 137 Oil & Gas Rep. 50 (E.D. La. 1996) Successfully represented Continental Land & Fur Co., Inc. in dispute over right to plug and abandon under offshore operating agreement and liability for such abandonment costs.

Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Martin Exploration Co., et al., 432 So. 2d 886, 1983 La. App. LEXIS 8321, 81 Oil & Gas Rep. 88 (La. App. 1 Cir. 1983); rev’d 447 So. 2d 469, 1984 La. LEXIS 8441, 81 Oil & Gas Rep. 97 (La. 1984).  Successfully represented Chevron in connection with the interpretation of forfeiture clause pertaining to the parties obligation to drill certain wells.  Judgment resulted in the forfeiture of a 7% working interest in several producing Tuscaloosa units.

Cresent Drilling & Development, Inc. v. Sealexco Inc., et al, 570 So. 2d 151, 1990 La. App. LEXIS 2506, 113 Oil & Gas Rep. 82 (La. App. 3 Cir. 1990); writ denied 575 So. 2d 373, 1991 La. LEXIS 357 (La. 1991).  Represented Crescent Drilling & Development, Inc. in concursus proceeding involving various disputes among several working interest owners who participated in the drilling and development of an oil and gas field in Iberia Parish, Louisiana.

Ernest and Evelyn Singleton, et al. v. Northfield Insurance Company, et al., No. 104-204, 16th Judicial District Court, Parish of St. Mary, Louisiana; No. 2001-CA-0447, 826 So. 2d 55 (La. App. 1st  Cir. 05/15/2002); writ denied, 2002-1660 (La. 9/30/02), 825 So 2d 1200.  Represented Burlington Resources Oil & Gas Company in trial of class certification for damages arising out of the blowout of a natural gas well being drilled in Assumption Parish, Louisiana.  Case was recently settled on terms satisfactory to client.

Kaiser Aluminum Exploration Company, et al v. The Honorable Herbert W. Thompson, 523 So. 2d 240, 1988 La. App. LEXIS 631, 98 Oil & Gas Rep. 610 (La. App. 1 Cir. 1988); rev’d 525 So. 2d 1050, 1988 La. LEXIS 1251 (La. 1988); rehearing denied 530 So. 2d 552 (La. 1988); cert. denied  489 U.S. 1014, 103 L. Ed. 2d 189, 109 S. Ct. 1126, 1989 U.S. LEXIS 905, 57 U.S.L.W. 3551 (1989).  Represented Chevron U.S.A. Inc. in trial contesting the validity of a producing unit created by the Louisiana Commissioner of Conservation.

Meadors v. Pacific International Petroleum, Inc., 449 So. 2d 26 (La. App. 1 Cir. 1984) Successfully represented Pacific International Petroleum, Inc. in trial of claim by mineral lessor that he was incompetent and therefore unable to execute lease.

In the Matter of the Complaint of John W. Stone Oil Distributor, L.L.C., Owner of the M/V STONE FUELER, for Exoneration from or Limitation of Liability, No. 98-1828 (E.D. La. 1998).  Represented Chevron Pipeline Company in connection with suit for damages resulting from sinking of tug which struck and ruptured one of Chevron’s crud oil pipelines off the coast of southeast Louisiana.  Case settled for slightly less that $1 million after pre-trial conference with Court.

Crescent Drilling & Development, Inc. v. Warren Resources, Inc., No. 340-848, 24th Judicial District Court for the Parish of Jefferson, Louisiana.  Represented Crescent Drilling & Development, Inc. in connection with various disputes arising under joint operating agreement relative to multiple producing oil and gas wells located in Iberia Parish Louisiana.

Sanders et al. v. Chevron U.S.A. Inc., No. 80-921, 27th Judicial District Court, Parish of St. Landry, Louisiana.  Obtained jury verdict in favor of Chevron U.S.A. Inc. dismissing plaintiffs’ effort to cancel an oil, gas and mineral lease for fraud and misrepresentation.

Estate of James Bettison Lowrey and Delano Plantation, Inc. v. Chevron U.S.A. Inc., et al., No. 82-478, 27th Judicial District Court, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana.  Represented Chevron U.S.A. Inc. in connection with claims for damages (property and personal injury) arising out of the blowout of the J. B. Lowery Well No. 1 in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana.  Case settled on terms satisfactory to client.

In the Matter of the Arbitration Between C.J. Brown, L.L.C.  and The Ventana Corporation f/k/a/ The C.J. Brown Corporation, No. 69 115 0022 96 G, American Arbitration Association.  Represented C.J. Brown, L.L.C.  in week long arbitration of dispute arising out of purchase and sale agreement for sale of realty company and obtained result satisfactory to client.

In the Matter of the Private Arbitration Between BP America Production Company and Westport Resources Corporation Regarding Natural Gas Processing Agreement, 2002. Represented Westport Resources Corporation in three day arbitration of dispute arising under a natural gas processing agreement between the predecessors in interest of Westport and BP.  Arbitration award resulting in relieving Westport of over $6.5 million in future liability.

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