Robert S. Stassi
Mr. Stassi is a partner with the firm.
Practice Areas and Experience: Mr. Stassi has extensive experience representing clients in the construction, real estate, oil and gas and banking industries. He has represented clients in disputes in all forums, including state court, federal court, arbitration proceedings, and in mediations.
On behalf of both businesses and individuals, Mr. Stassi has successfully handled a variety of commercial litigation matters, including: breach of contract claims; oil, gas and mineral lease disputes; servitude and other right of way disputes; commercial and residential lease disputes and evictions; representing contractors, owners and design professionals in all manners of construction claims; enforcement of liens; Louisiana Private Works Act and Public Works Act claims; business and consumer fraud; lender liability; debt collection; and insurance coverage disputes.
Mr. Stassi also advises clients on contractual, risk management and general business issues.
He regularly drafts and negotiates master service agreements, indemnity agreements, construction contracts and all types of lease agreements.
Mr. Stassi has been awarded the “AV” Peer Review Rating by Martindale Hubbell, which is the highest possible rating for ethical standards and legal ability. Mr. Stassi was selected by his peers to be included in the 22nd and 23rd Editions of The Best Lawyers in America® (2016 and 2017) in the area of Commercial Litigation.
Year Admitted to Practice
Louisiana State University, B.A. 1994; Louisiana State University, J.D. 1997.
American Bar Association (Sections of Litigation and Environment, Energy and Resources); New Orleans Bar Association (Director, Young Lawyers Section, 1999-2000); Fifth Circuit Bar Association (1997-2001); Federal Bar Association (1997-2002); Energy Bar Association, New Orleans Chapter (2005-present); Professional Landmen's Association of New Orleans; Member Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) New Orleans/Bayou Chapter (Presenter, topic “Enforcement of Construction Liens,” Associated Builders & Contractors’ Legal Edge Seminar (August 2013)); Judge, John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition, 1998; Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (Hearing Committee Member, 2009-2013, Hearing Committee Chairperson, 2013-2014); Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Louisiana Chapter, Golf Classic Committee (2007 – 2012, Co-Chair 2013).
Areas of Practice
- Banking, Finance, Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights
- Business & Corporate
- Commercial Litigation
- Insurance Coverage
- Maritime & Admiralty
- Oil & Gas
- Real Estate
All Louisiana State Courts; U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit; U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana; U.S. District Court, Middle District of Louisiana; U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana
Mang v. Heisler Props., L.L.C., et al., 11-867 (La.App. 5 Cir. 5/22/12) 96 So. 3d 521; writ denied, 2012-C-2083 (La. 11/16/12) 102 So. 3d 42. Represented owner of several adjacent commercial properties acquired at U.S. Marshall sale in lawsuit brought by lessee seeking to nullify sale. Successfully defended lessee’s appeal to Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal, which affirmed summary judgment dismissal of lessee’s lawsuit for reason that the public sale did not trigger the lease’s right of first refusal, that lessee had no right of action, and that lessee was not entitled to “Mennonite Notice” pursuant to the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
DeLapouyade v. Whitney Holding Corporation, No. 2011-189, Civil District Court Parish of Orleans, Louisiana; Realistic Partners v. Whitney Holding Corporation, No. 2011-256 consolidated with Jane Doe, No. 2011-794, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana: Represented target bank and its board of directors in various merger litigation arising out of a $1.5 billion stock deal. Settled class actions challenging the sale, alleging breaches of fiduciary duties and seeking to stop the bank merger.
Mobile-One Auto Sound, Inc. v. Whitney Nat. Bank, 2011-0535 (La.App. 4 Cir. 11/9/11), 78 So. 3d 807, 2011 WL 5386624. Lead counsel defending national bank and various officers in lawsuit brought by business borrower alleging significant damages and business losses arising out of the manner in which loans were non-renewed and collateral was pursued. Obtained dismissal of the lawsuit on the grounds that plaintiff waived notice of default under the terms of the promissory note and that each of its various other claims was not cognizable under the Louisiana Credit Agreement Statute, La. R.S. 6:1121 – 1124. As appeal counsel, successfully obtained ruling from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal affirming the district court’s dismissal of the suit.
Glencoe Educ. Foundation, Inc. v. Clerk of Court and Recorder of Mortgages for the Parish of St. Mary, 2010-1872 (La.App. 1 Cir. 5/6/11) 65 So.3d 225; writ denied, 2011-C -1142 (La. 10/21/11), 73 So.3d 383. Represented commercial subcontractor in asserting statement of claim or privilege under the Public Works Act and in the concursus proceeding. Following trial on the merits, obtained money judgment against the payment bond company for full amount owed, plus interest, costs and attorney’s fees. Successfully defended appeal of judgment in appellate courts, which held that surety which issued bond could not assert “pay-when-paid” provision in the subcontract as defense against subcontractors' claims because allowing surety to assert clause to defeat payment to subcontractors, where the owner has escaped liability to the subcontractors by relying on the payment bond, would render the protections afforded laborers and suppliers on public works projects set forth in the Public Works Act meaningless.
Standard Mortgage Corp. v. Community Bank of Miss., 2011 WL 977571 (E.D. La.2011). Represented lender to enforce its rights against a bank under a correspondent agreement pursuant to which lender purchased mortgage loans. Brought litigation alleging bank’s breach contact in the manner in which it originated, processed, underwrote and/or closed loan due to same’s failure to comply with guidelines of Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”). Obtained favorable settlement.
ASP Enterprises, Inc. v. Guillory, 08-2235 (La. App. 1st Cir. 9/11/09), 22 So.3d 964, writ denied, 09-2464 (La. 1/29/10), 25 So.3d 834: Lead counsel defending national bank in lender liability case involving numerous allegedly forged and converted instruments presented over time in connection with a long term embezzlement scheme allegedly perpetrated by an account holder’s employee and outside conspirators. Successfully obtained summary judgment dismissal of all claims against the bank. As to the numerous “forged maker checks,” dismissal affirmed by appellate court on basis of the “same wrongdoer rule” of UCC §4-406, the limitations period of UCC §4-406, and the account holder’s lack of care under UCC §3-406. As to the numerous “forged payee checks,” dismissal of conversion claims affirmed by appellate court on grounds that employee was clothed with authority under UCC §3-405 and the limitations period of UCC §3-420.
Board of Com'rs of the Port of New Orleans v. Lexington Ins. Co., et al., 549 F.Supp.2d 795 (E.D. La.2008): Represented international shipping company and its subsidiaries in action brought by port commissioners alleging breach of long-term lease of a large shipping and receiving terminal on the Mississippi River. Obtained summary judgment dismissing port’s claims alleging breach of contract for failing to repair, replace and/or restore extensive damages caused by a hurricane.
Clade v. Stone Insurance, Inc., et al., 2006 WL 2366373 (E.D.La..2006): Represented National Bank in lawsuit brought by borrower alleging violations of various provisions of “federal and/or state law” that required lender to obtain flood insurance if the property owner failed to do so. Obtained dismissal of plaintiff's federal law claims on grounds that no implied private right of action exists under the National Flood Insurance Program.
ASP Enterprises, Inc. v. Kevin J. Guillory, et al., 22nd Judicial District Court Parish of St. Tammany Case No. 2003-15838, First Circuit Court of Appeal Docket No. 2008-CA-2235: Lead counsel defending Parish National Bank. Obtained summary judgment dismissal with prejudice of multiple causes of actions asserted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. § 1961, et seq. on the grounds that the Bank was not involved in any “Predicate Acts” of “Racketeering”, did not “Conduct or Operate” the affairs of a “RICO Enterprise,” and was not part of an “Enterprise” associated with any “Pattern of Racketeering.”
Jeney McCoy, et al. v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al., Case No. 477328, Div. "B", 1st Judicial District Court For the Parish of Caddo, State of Louisiana: Defended Chevron U.S.A., Inc. in “legacy” law suit brought by alleged owners in indivision of a parcel of property alleging that the numerous defendants were current or predecessor lessees and/or oil & gas operators under mineral leases and alleging liability for compensatory and punitive damages as a result of alleged contamination of property. Obtained order dismissing claims against client.
Hurricane Katrina (& Rita) Insurance Claims: In the wake of the Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Mr. Stassi represented numerous companies in disputes with their property and business income insurers. On behalf of those companies, Mr. Stassi collected over $48.5 million in property damage and business interruption claims.
Specialized Commercial Lending, Inc. v. Murphy-Blossman Appraisal Services, L.L.C., 2007-0100 (La.App. 1 Cir. 11/2/07) 978 So.2d 927: On behalf of owner of real estate appraisal company, obtained dismissal with prejudice of claims by a lender suing for loss of collateral for construction loan funds advanced to a builder where loss allegedly resulted from appraisal company's negligence in failing to properly certify construction progress on homes that were never built.
Rathborne Land Company LLC, et al. v. Ascent Energy, Inc., Civil Action No. 05-2452, United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana: Represented mineral lessors in their law suit to cancel three different oil, gas and mineral leases covering two adjacent tracts of land comprising more than 3,000 acres situated in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana. Sought lease cancellation and damages based upon a failure to produce the leases in paying quantities and failure to reasonably develop and further test and explore all portions of the leases as required by the Mineral Code. Sought $9 million in damages for lost seismic and leasing opportunities, plus attorneys fees. Defended numerous counter-claims on the mineral leases. Following trial on the merits, obtained judgment cancelling lease and for money damages. Obtained favorable settlement on appeal.
Steinberg v. Louisiana Land & Exploration Co., 05-CA-898 (La.App. 5 Cir. 03/28/06), 927 So.2d 474: Lead counsel on behalf of the owners of 2,680 acres of fresh water Louisiana marsh lands in a dispute with neighboring landowners (and their surface lessee) over a two mile right-of-way. Successfully tried the case to the trial court, obtaining a ruling, pursuant to Louisiana Civil Code Articles 689, et seq., recognizing his clients’ right to an unrestricted servitude of passage along and over the right-of-way for ingress and egress to the neighbors’ properties; enjoining the neighbors from interfering in the future; and denying the neighbors any payment in exchange for the right of passage. Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit, upheld the judgment in all respects.
Occidental Chemical Corporation vs. Bridgeline Holdings, L.P., et al., No. 58,956, Div. C, 29th Judicial District Court, Parish of St. Charles, State of Louisiana: Represented Texaco Pipelines LLC in a law suit brought by the owner of a co-generation power plant suing for more than $23 million for damages to combustion turbine generators allegedly caused by Texaco’s delivery of contaminated (and/or out of specification) natural gas used as fuel for the turbines. Obtained favorable settlement.
Daspit v. Talbert, 841 So.2d 986 (La.App. 5 Cir. 2003): As lead counsel on behalf of officer and director of company that leased commercial property, obtained dismissal with prejudice of lawsuit by lessor for eviction and for past due rent. Successfully defended appeal, obtained ruling from appellate court affirming trial court.
Abe Payne, Jr. versus Chevron Pipeline (sic) Company, et al., Case No. 472374, Division "A", 1st Judicial District Court, Parish of Caddo, State of Louisiana: Defended Chevron Pipe Line Company in “legacy” law suit brought by alleged owners in indivision of a parcel of property alleging that the numerous defendants were current or predecessor lessees and/or operators under mineral leases and alleging liability for compensatory and punitive damages as a result of alleged contamination of property. Obtained order dismissing claims against client.
Rigolets Limited Partnership v. BP Oil Pipeline Company, BP Oil Pipeline Company, BP Pipelines (Alaska) Inc. and BP Pipelines (North America), Inc., Case No. 2002-16972, Division "H", Civil District Court, Parish of Orleans, Louisiana: Represented owners of thousands of acres of marsh land in Jefferson Parish Louisiana in their lawsuit against oil & gas pipe line companies claiming breach of a pipe line permit and right-of-way agreement resulting in severe erosion of the marsh land. Sought more that $7.4 million in damages as the cost of complying with the contract. Obtained favorable settlement.
"In the Matter of Danos & Curole Marine Contractors, L.L.C., as Owner and Operator of the L/B PAUL DANOS Petitioning for Limitation of Liability", U.S.D.C., E.D. La. Civil Action No. 04-2084, Sect. J, Mag. 3: Prosecuted the claims of Chandeleur Pipe Line Company for damages exceeding $4,600,000 arising out of the allision of the L/B PAUL DANOS with pipeline owned and operated by client in the Gulf of Mexico. Asserted claims of client in the vessel’s limitation proceedings; obtained favorable settlement.
Chevron Pipe Line Company vs. Signal Companies, Inc., Case No. 47-121, 25th Judicial District Court, Parish of Plaquemines, Louisiana: Represented Chevron Pipe Line Company in successful prosecution of breach of contract and fraud claims against company that was awarded large dismantlement project of Chevron's Ostrica Oil Terminal. Defended contractor’s cross-claims for breach of contract. Tried case on the merits, obtaining judgment in excess of $318,000 in favor of client. Successfully opposed motion for new trial. Successfully obtained dismissal of appeal.
Chad N. Buras, et al. versus Chevron Pipeline Company, et al., Case No. 49390, Div."B" 25th J.D.C.,Parish of Plaquemines, State of Louisiana: Represented Chevron Pipe Line Company in defense of law suit brought by four individuals alleging damages sustained when their fishing boat allided with a submerged bulkhead built around a pipeline owned and operated by the pipe line company in a navigable body of water in the Parish of Plaquemines, Louisiana. Plaintiffs sought medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages. Obtained favorable settlement.
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. Obtained favorable settlement.
Chevron Pipe Line Company v. M/T NORDLIGHT, in rem, and Nordlight Shipping Co., Ltd., in personam, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Civil Action No. 02-1652, Section "A", Magistrate 5: Prosecuted claims for damages of Chevron Pipe Line Company, as the owner of a terminal on the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, against the vessel, the M/T Nordlight, in rem, her owner/operator, and insurer. The vessel, while calling at the terminal to deliver a cargo of crude oil, allided with, and physically damaged, the Terminal's dock and fender system. Damages sought exceeded $250,000. Obtained favorable settlement.
RESULTS MAY VARY DEPENDING UPON SPECIFIC FACTS AND LAW