Litigation Support

Attorneys often find it essential to quickly understand the commercial, technical, operational and broad business practices of their client’s industry. This understanding is pivotal to assessing the risks and value of the case in large commercial litigation.

Approach

Attorneys must weigh the strengths and weaknesses of their cases based on the law and on industry practice and convention.

Mr. Langley has worked and consulted in almost every aspect of the downstream industry, and can explain past and current practices.

A testifier must be a Daubert level expert in his field, and have the skills to argue persuasively with peers who may testify.

Mr. Langley has worked in operations, supply and trading, marketing, finance, accounting and taxation. He has dealt with many facets of the industry.

An expert must be able to explain complex issues in a way that judges and juries can understand and relate to them.

Mr. Langley taught a downstream and refining course to industry finance and accounting professionals for 18 years at UT Dallas, and has spoken at industry events on several occasions.

Mr. Langley will provide a detailed analysis of strengths and weaknesses of the opposition’s position on industry issues, and include suggested interrogatories in outline or sentence form.

In his written report he will offer insights that clarify underlying issues in the dispute, and quantify the economic impact on your client. In deposition and testimony he will explain these issues in a way that is easily understood by the judge or jury.

Examples

PIPELINE THROUGHPUT MAXIMIZATION  Two companies owned a pipeline jointly, with one, the operator, having a duty to operate it at maximum capacity at all times. The non-operator alleged that this duty was not met, and filed suit. For the operator, Mr. Langley was retained to review the operations and form an opinion as to whether maximum throughput had been achieved. Recognizing that “maximum” is influenced by many factors, he drew from client engineering, maintenance, operating and accounting records to reconstruct the operation of the pipeline over a 27 month period, and to calculate a theoretical “maximum” for comparison to actual operations. The pipeline simulation, created in one-minute segments, showed that the pipeline had operated within one percent of its theoretical maximum for the entire time. The parties settled amicably.

REFINERY LOST PROFITS  A refiner claimed business interruption losses related to the delayed startup of a major capital investment. Working for the attorneys representing the EPC contractor, significant discrepancies were found in the refiner’s claim for damages, largely from failure to consider the overall business impact of the delay. Mr. Langley requested additional, specific documents related to the overall business and found that the losses were far less than claimed. By approaching the claim as a business investigation, rather than an engineering investigation, attorneys and the court learned that while operations may have been impacted, profits were not.

SUITABLE FUEL WAS UNAVAILABLE A manufacturer of special-purpose vehicles sold and delivered several such vehicles to a buyer in the Middle East. The vehicles required ultra-low sulfur diesel if operated in the US or Europe, but ULSD was not mandated for use in the buyer’s country. The buyer asserted that the product was defective, and claimed that no suitable fuel was available. As consultant to attorneys for the manufacturer, Jim studied the local and regional markets and found several refiners and suppliers who could provide ULSD, and do so on a cost-effective basis.

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