In the News

Thomas Kurth in Law360: Texas Case Could Make Drillers Rethink Fracking Disposal

A trespassing case taken up by the Texas Supreme Court on Friday asks whether landowners can sue when wastewater from underground injection wells ends up on their land, and the outcome could force energy companies to rethink how they dispose of byproducts from fracking and other power generation activities. >>



Recent Publications

Recent Litigation and Court Cases Affecting the Oil and Gas Upstream Business

A discussion of recent legal developments in the courthouse, legislation and regulatory bodies in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry, as well as the author's sense of what the future portends for legal purposes in this sector of the oil and gas industry. >>

29th Annual Litigation Update Institute Course Book Guest Article: Energy Law Update

This paper collects developments in energy law since the last Energy Law Update delivered by Walker Friedman at the January 2011 Litigation Update CLE. The paper covers case law update, regulatory and legislative developments and emerging topics in energy litigation, especially in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry. >>

Oil & Gas Monitor Guest Article: The Top Six Issues and Opportunities Facing the Oil and Gas Industry in 2013

The Energy Information Agency, in a recent report, stated that domestic crude oil production is projected to continue its steep rise due to improved production technologies especially in shale formations. An EIA official noted that the annual output increase in US crude production has experienced its largest rise since the beginning of US commercial oil extraction in 1859. >>

American Law and Jurisprudence on Fracing - 2012

Haynes and Boone, LLP energy attorneys have published an update to their comprehensive and highly regarded “American Law and Jurisprudence on Fracking,” a white paper that examines the legal, environmental and regulatory climate in active shale play states. >>



Thomas E. Kurth

Partner

Dallas


2323 Victory Avenue
Suite 700
Dallas, 75219
T +1 214.651.5621
F +1 214.200.0506

Áreas de Practica

Educación

  • J.D., Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, 1973, Southwestern Law Journal
  • B.A., Creighton University, 1970

Bar Admissions

  • Texas

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
Thomas E. Kurth

Thomas Kurth has 40 years of experience as a trial lawyer. His trial practice has spanned such diverse areas as commercial and transactional litigation, debtor/creditor disputes, disputes in the oil and gas industry, land use disputes, labor-management disputes, products liability litigation, aviation litigation and medical malpractice defense. During his career, Tom has acted as lead counsel in more than two dozen trials leading to a verdict, as well as scores of non-jury trials. His trial practice has taken him to numerous federal, state and bankruptcy court venues in Texas and throughout the United States, as well as proceedings in foreign countries.

Tom was a lead member of the trial team that represented ATA in a five-day breach of contract trial in which a federal court jury returned a unanimous $65.9 million breach of contract verdict against Federal Express Corporation. The National Law Journal ranked the verdict number 27 in its Top 100 Verdicts in 2010.

Selected Client Representations 

  • Represented ATA Airlines in a breach of contract case where jury awarded $65.9 million.
  • Represented owner of a large property in the panhandle of Texas against a pipeline company for property damages. Obtained a jury verdict for the property owner.
  • Represented a lender in a dispute with the owner of a gas storage facility. The lender obtained a large judgment.
  • Representation of lending institutions and lending syndicates in disputes including debt collection, debt restructurings, prosecutions to avoid fraudulent transfers, claims of equitable subordination and the defense of lender-liability claims.
  • Representation of a lending institution in various forums in the United States and the maritime courts of Great Britain and the Channel Islands in prosecutions to avoid fraudulent transfers.
  • Representation of operators and non-operators in disputes over the operation and valuation of oil and gas properties, lease termination disputes, and conversion of leasehold interests.
  • Representation of a wide variety of oil and gas clients involving lease termination disputes, conversion of leasehold interests, disputes over exploration and AMI agreements,  JOA disputes, unitization disputes, TTT suits, lien rights in oil and gas properties and equipment, underground gas storage facilities, and disputes over geophysical rights.
  • Representation of a general partner and its affiliates in defense of claims in excess of $1 billion for breach of fiduciary duties and usurpation of partnership opportunities.
  • Representation of a software company in protection of its intellectual property and in defense of anti-trust claims.
  • Representation of a fixed-base operator in defense of aviation wrongful death claims.
  • Representation of health-care providers in defense of medical malpractice claims.
  • Representation of a telecommunications company in a dispute over contract rights.
  • Representation of a regional airline carrier against a major airline carrier over contract rights.
  • Representation of a public utility in defense of class action claims by subordinated debenture holders.
  • Representation of financial institutions in major litigation involving natural gas contracts.
  • Representation of franchisor in litigation involving breach of contract claims.
  • Representation of various types of commercial clients in suits involving claims for fraudulent transfers, fraud, tortious interference, breach of contract, aiding and abetting fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Representation of a major art dealer regarding the sale of a prominent piece of post-war abstract contemporary art.

Tom has been a frequent lecturer and panelist for the American Bar Association Litigation Section, the State Bar of Texas and numerous other trade and professional organizations. He has also served for several years as an adjunct professor of law on creditors' rights and remedies at the Southern Methodist University School of Law. In the recent past, Tom has spoken and written on a wide variety of topics including lender liability claims, oil and gas disputes, trial practice areas and commercial transactions. He has also spoken and written frequently on his and his firm's extensive use of technology in the office and the courtroom. Tom was voted a Texas Super Lawyer by members of the Texas Bar for the past eight years.

Activities and Affiliations

  • Associate - American Board of Trial Advocates
  • Member - American Bar Association, Litigation Section
  • Member – Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation
  • Past Member - Litigation Council for the Litigation Section, State Bar of Texas
  • Fellow - Texas Bar Foundation
  • Fellow - Dallas Bar Foundation
  • Editorial Board - The Advocate, quarterly publication of the Litigation Section, State Bar of Texas
  • Member/Appointee - Judicial Nominating Commission, City of Dallas, Texas (2004-2008)

Selected Publications and Presentations 

  • "Recent Litigation and Court Cases Affecting the Oil and Gas Upstream Business," presentation and paper, North American Petroleum Accounting Conference, May 16, 2013.
  • "Energy Law Update," co-author with William White, 29th Annual Litigation Update Institute Course Book, State Bar of Texas, November 30, 2012.
  • "Understanding Hydraulic Fracturing: Issues, Challenges and Regulatory Regime," co-author with William D. White, Practical Law Company, November 27, 2012.
  • "Shale-Gas Cases Important in State-Level Upstream Litigation," author, Natural Gas & Electricity, April 2012.
  • "State-Level Upstream Gas Litigation," white paper, February 27, 2012.
  • "Shaking Up Established Case Law And Regulation: The Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing," co-author with William D. White, The Advocate, Jan. 5, 2012.
  • "Current Developments in Energy Litigation," presented at the 10th Annual Energy Litigation Conference, co-sponsored by The Institute for Energy Law of The Center for American and International Law, the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, and the American Bar Association Energy Litigation Committee of the Section of Litigation, November 3, 2011.
  • "Regulatory Developments - Water Access/Wastewater, Severance Taxes, and Drilling Regulations," presented at the Platts Oil & Gas Shale Developer Conference, June 21-22, 2011.
  • "Lender Liability, Historical and Emerging," author and presenter at the Suing, Defending and Negotiating with Financial Institutions Conference, State Bar of Texas, February 10-11, 2011.  
  • "American Law and Jurisprudence on Fracing," with Michael Mazzone, Mary Mendoza, and Christopher Kulander, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Journal, Vol. 47, No. 2, 2010. (This paper was updated in 2011 and 2012; the updated white paper, "American Law and Jurisprudence on Fracing - 2012," can be found here.)
  • "An Overview of Selected Issues in Punitive Damages," presented at UT Continuing Education, The Damages Institute, September and October 2004.
  • "Videotape Depositions and Related Technology Tools: Important Considerations Regarding the Taping and Presentation of Video Deposition Testimony and Exhibits," Fall 2004 issue of The Advocate, published quarterly by the Litigation Section, State Bar of Texas.

Professional Recognition

  • Recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America - Commercial Litigation; Oil and Gas Law (2008-2014) and Litigation - Banking & Finance, Litigation - Bankruptcy, and Litigation - Real Estate (2012-2014)
  • Recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer - Business Litigation (2004-2012)
  • Recognized in the Global Register Who's Who in Executives and Professionals
  • Recognized in the 2009 Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers
  • Recognized in the Cambridge Who's Who Registry among Executives and Professionals
  • Martindale Hubbell® Law Directory with a Peer Review Rating of AV® Preeminent™

Selected Representative Experience


Adelphia Communications v. Bank of America, 1:03-md-01529-LMM (S.D.N.Y.)
Represented one of the nation's largest lending institutions in a $10 billion adversary proceeding stemming from the Adelphia Communications Corporation bankruptcy, including handling multiple appeals to the Southern District of New York and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Blockbuster Inc. v. C-Span Entertainment, Inc., 276 S.W.3d 482 (Tex. App. - Dallas 2008, pet. granted, judgm't vacated w.r.m.)
In a suit brought by a franchisee, obtained reversal of an adverse $8.5 million judgment and secured an award of $2.5 million for attorneys’ fees and costs.

Chapter 11 for Entertainment Company
Represented the trustee in connection with the liquidation of this international operator and franchisor of entertainment centers. The case involved extensive tracing of assets in foreign jurisdictions and significant litigation against accountants, officers and directors. There were numerous appeals and the case took nearly 10 years to complete.

Community Initiatives v. Chase Bank of Texas, N.A., et al., 153 S.W.3d 270 (Tex. App. - El Paso 2004, no pet.)
Successfully defended summary judgment on tort claims related to a national financial institution’s business practices.

Debt Restructure and Collections
Represented Southwest Savings Association, Bonnet Resources, Amresco, and Sunbelt Savings Association in connection with the collection of hundreds of loans including, real property foreclosures, personal property foreclosures, litigation, demands for payment, restructurings, and bankruptcies. These loans covered all industries and involved many novel factual and legal issues.

Defend Working Interest Owner of Large Mineral Lease in Declaratory Action and Suit for Accounting and Damages
Assisted with defense of working interest owner in large mineral lease against a petition for declaratory action and accounting and damages.

Excelsior Capital Marketing, et al. v. Plastic Pallet Production, Inc., et al.
Obtained summary judgment in favor of defendants in lawsuit seeking more than $250,000 in insurance proceeds related to burglary at manufacturing facility. The Plaintiff had asserted claims of breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and civil conspiracy.

Heritage Resources, Inc. v. Hill, 104 S.W.3d 612 (Tex. App. - El Paso 2003, no pet.)
In a case involving a dispute over oil and gas leases successfully defended on appeal a trial court’s order reducing a $21 million attorneys’ fees award to $25,000.

In re Cano Petroleum, Inc., 283 S.W.3d 179 (Tex. Jud. Pan. Mult. Lit. April 2, 2008)
Persuaded the Texas Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to transfer to a single pretrial court numerous suits against an oil and gas operator arising out of wildfires in west Texas.

Lease Cancellations Due to Fire
Represented a producer/operator in defending numerous lawsuits claiming client caused a large destructive fire in the Texas Panhandle, seeking damages, cancellation of leases. Suits were settled.

National Bank Litigation (2004)
Won summary judgment to enforce bank’s security liens and on various counterclaims brought against the bank by a borrower in a bankruptcy adversary proceeding and tried remaining tortious interference counterclaim to a defense verdict.

National Bank Litigation (2008)
Secured $411 million summary judgment in favor of the bank for a gas company’s conversion of 55 Bcf of natural gas in which the bank held a security interest. The judgment was based on claims of breach of a bailment agreement, conversion, trover, detinue, return of property and replevin and rejected misrepresentation counterclaims. The 2008 judgment, which was affirmed on appeal, was the culmination of litigation that began in Texas in 2002 and wound its way through several courts in Texas and New York. A favorable settlement was achieved.

Natural Gas Valuation
Persuaded the trial court to grant summary judgment, affirmed by the appellate court, to clients’ claims to the value of 55 Bcf of natural gas ($400+ million) stored in the Bammel Gas Storage Facility in Houston, Texas. Achieved favorable settlement.

Online Publications

05/16/2013 - Recent Litigation and Court Cases Affecting the Oil and Gas Upstream Business
A discussion of recent legal developments in the courthouse, legislation and regulatory bodies in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry, as well as the author's sense of what the future portends for legal purposes in this sector of the oil and gas industry.

04/05/2013 - 29th Annual Litigation Update Institute Course Book Guest Article: Energy Law Update
This paper collects developments in energy law since the last Energy Law Update delivered by Walker Friedman at the January 2011 Litigation Update CLE. The paper covers case law update, regulatory and legislative developments and emerging topics in energy litigation, especially in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry.

02/14/2013 - Oil & Gas Monitor Guest Article: The Top Six Issues and Opportunities Facing the Oil and Gas Industry in 2013
The Energy Information Agency, in a recent report, stated that domestic crude oil production is projected to continue its steep rise due to improved production technologies especially in shale formations. An EIA official noted that the annual output increase in US crude production has experienced its largest rise since the beginning of US commercial oil extraction in 1859.

12/21/2012 - American Law and Jurisprudence on Fracing - 2012
Haynes and Boone, LLP energy attorneys have published an update to their comprehensive and highly regarded “American Law and Jurisprudence on Fracking,” a white paper that examines the legal, environmental and regulatory climate in active shale play states.

11/27/2012 - Understanding Hydraulic Fracturing: Issues, Challenges and Regulatory Regime
This Note discusses the advantages and disadvantages of hydraulic fracturing, certain federal, state and local regulations to which hydraulic fracturing is subject and the future of hydraulic fracturing.

02/27/2012 - State-Level Upstream Gas Litigation

Litigation claims between private parties arising in the context of exploration and production activities encompass a wide range of contract and tort issues.

01/05/2012 - The Advocate Guest Article: Shaking Up Established Case Law And Regulation - The Impacts Of Hydraulic Fracturing
Hydraulic fracturing is arguably the most significant development in the petrochemical exploration and production industry since Howard Hughes' invention of the rotary drill bit.

08/23/2011 - Fracking Legal Landscape Updated in Haynes and Boone White Paper
HOUSTON – Haynes and Boone, LLP energy attorneys have published an update to their comprehensive and highly regarded “American Law and Jurisprudence on Fracking,” a white paper that examines the legal, environmental and regulatory climate in active shale play states.

05/20/2011 - Oil and gas regulations turning into a circus
The development of shale gas has been described as nothing less than a revolution in world energy. This growth of the natural gas market is now being met with a scrum of state and federal agencies competing for entry to the regulatory big top.

It’s almost Newtonian in its predictability: With every positive development in our economy and bid for energy independence there is a resisting counterforce of shrill opponents. “No Fracking” has become the battle cry of those who are painting the oil and gas industry as the Great Satan seeking to sacrifice the environment and therefore humanity on the altar of corporate greed.

02/16/2011 - Tom Kurth on the Facts and Science Supporting Fracking
In this Houston Chronicle article, Tom Kurth speaks out in support of fracking and claims the condemnation of its technolgy is misguided.

02/10/2011 - Lender Liability, Historical and Emerging
Discussion of litigation related to financial institutions.

12/01/2010 - American Law and Jurisprudence on Fracking
The substantial growth of domestic unconventional shale resources in recent years has partially been a result of the increase in the use of hydraulic fracturing. This report deals with hydraulic fracturing and the legal and technical issues associated with it.

08/24/2010 - Recent Statutory and Regulatory Developments Related to Hydraulic Fracturing in New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio
The use of hydraulic fracturing, sometimes called "fracking," has made it economically possible to produce hydrocarbons, mainly gas, from the central Appalachian region of the eastern United States. Shale gas development from the Marcellus Shale is focused in four states: New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

07/08/2010 - Law Applicable to Hydraulic Fracturing in the Shale States
The use of hydraulic fracturing has made it economically possible to produce hydrocarbons from reservoirs which previously would have been uneconomical to develop. Now, an extraordinary oil and gas boom is afoot in America, and onshore natural gas production is advancing at an extraordinary pace.

09/30/2004 - An Overview of Selected Issues in Punitive Damages
In 1987, the Texas Legislature first codified the law governing punitive damages. See Act of June 3, 1987, 70th Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 2, § 2.12, 987 Tex. Gen. Laws 37, 44-46 (amended 1989, 1995, 1997 & 2001) (current version at TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM CODE § 41.001-.013 (Vernon 1997 & Supp. 2003)). Then, in 1988, the Texas Supreme Court held that the defendant’s net worth is relevant to punitive damages and thus discoverable.