Paul L. Mitchell
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Contact Information

Houston

600 Travis
Suite 4200
Houston, TX 77002
P: +1.713.220.3897
F: +1.713.220.4285
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Paul L. Mitchell

Partner

Houston Office
600 Travis
Suite 4200
Houston, TX 77002
P: +1.713.220.3897
F: +1.713.220.4285

Paul has a broad litigation practice, with the primary focus of representing companies in the energy sector in commercial litigation, arbitration, corporate investigations, and related matters.

In the area of litigation, Paul has extensive experience in both state and federal courts, including commercial, oil and gas, real estate, and copyright litigation. He has both prosecuted and defended cases involving claims of breach of contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference, copyright and trademark infringement, and numerous other matters.

His experience in corporate investigations has included representation of corporations and audit committees in investigations and disclosures to the SEC and DOJ of transactions implicating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, investigations of alleged internal wrongdoing implicating Sarbanes-Oxley, investigations implicating the antitrust laws, and investigations on behalf of special litigation committees in connection with shareholder derivative actions.

Representative Experience

Energy Litigation

  • Representation of a large pipeline company in a dispute with a producer of natural gas involving claims under natural gas purchase and transportation agreements
  • Representation of a major integrated oil company in a dispute regarding the sale of its interest in an offshore pipeline company
  • Representation of a major international oil and gas exploration company in an international arbitration and related litigation with an offshore drilling rig contractor and assignor regarding the termination of a rig sharing/assignment agreement for an offshore drilling rig and associated drilling services in Libya
  • Representation of an independent exploration and production company in a dispute involving potential claims of force majeure arising out of a drilling contract for a semi-submersible offshore drilling vessel in Brazil
  • Representation of a major international oil and gas exploration company and certain of its joint interests partners in a commercial arbitration over the sharing of costs of the design, engineering, fabrication, transportation, installation, commissioning, and operation of a multi-billion dollar floating offshore production facility in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Representation of a large independent oil and gas company in a dispute regarding oil and gas leases and other interests, including the assignment and reservation of working interests and overriding royalty interests
  • Representation of a large independent oil and gas company in successfully prosecuting claims for misappropriation of trade secrets and violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act against a former geoscientist employee in connection with the destruction of confidential petrophysical data and computer models
  • Representation of a large independent oil and gas company in successfully defending against claims for alleged breach of an area of mutual interest provision involving 250,000 acres in Montana
  • Representation of a major integrated oil company in obtaining dismissal of a federal RICO suit arising out of international exploration and production activities in Kazakhstan
  • Representation of senior executives of oil and gas companies in connection with disputes relating to covenants not to compete, severance payments, incentive awards, and other benefits
  • Representation of a chemical plant owner in a dispute involving the purchase and sale of hydrogen
  • Representation of a working interest owner in prosecuting a claim against another owner for alleged breach of a preferential rights provision in a joint operating agreement involving exploration activities in the Bakken shale
  • Representation of a seller of producing properties in defending against a claim for environmental indemnity asserted by a remote purchaser
  • Representation of oil and gas companies in defending against claims for alleged breaches of area of mutual interest (“AMI”) provisions in joint operating and other agreements
  • Representation of a large independent exploration and production company in a suit alleging breach of implied covenants of reasonable development and further exploration of a 55,000-acre lease in South Texas
  • Representation of an owner of offshore producing properties in prosecuting claims against an offshore services company for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with an improper payment made to an executive of the client to obtain concessions on multimillion dollar transactions
  • Representation of a working interest owner in a dispute involving the accounting for mobilization/demobilization expenses for drilling activities in the Gulf of Mexico as to non-consent owners under an offshore joint operating agreement
  • Representation of an operator in prosecuting claims against an offshore drilling company over the failure of a mooring line which broke and caused significant delay and damages
  • Representation of an oil and gas company in connection with numerous disputes and lawsuits involving offshore exploration activities in the Caspian Sea off the coast of Azerbaijan and a related project for the construction of an offshore gas compression facility
  • Representation of an oil and gas operator in prosecuting and defending claims arising from the explosion of a leased oil field compressor package

Corporate Compliance and Investigations

  • Representation of the Audit Committee of Global Industries, Ltd. in the investigation and successful resolution of a three-year, industry-wide FCPA investigation conducted jointly by the DOJ and the SEC relating to use of the freight forwarding company Panalpina, Inc. in Nigeria and elsewhere, which resulted in no enforcement action or the imposition of any fines or penalties against Global Industries
  • Representation of a state-owned oil company in connection with the U.S. Department of Justice industry-wide investigation involving Unaoil
  • Representation of an oilfield services company in responding to an SEC inquiry regarding its use of commercial agents in Latin America
  • Representing the audit committee of a private company in investigating and responding to whistleblower complaints of alleged self-dealing and breaches of fiduciary duty by senior management
  • Representation of an independent exploration and production company in investigating whistleblower allegations of a failure in internal controls
  • Representation of an audit committee of a publicly-traded oilfield services company in an investigation of alleged payments to foreign officials in Venezuela
  • Representation of the special litigation committee of a publicly-traded energy company in connection with a derivative suit alleging improper trading activities
  • Representation of an oilfield services company in an internal investigation of whistleblower allegations of market allocation and bid-rigging 
  • Representation of an executive in an FCPA investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission involving alleged payments to foreign officials in China
  • Representation of an executive in connection with a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of alleged price-fixing in the marine hose industry
  • Representation of companies performing anti-corruption due diligence in connection with mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and the use of international sales and service agents
  • Advising companies on anti-corruption policies, procedures, controls, and training

Other Commercial Litigation

  • Representation of an international holding company in a dispute with minority shareholders involving claims of breach of fiduciary duty and violations of the Illinois Business Corporations Act
  • Representation of a privately-held company in litigation involving the interpretation of an exclusivity provision in a confidentiality agreement
  • Representation of a real estate investment company in a dispute involving the applicability of the Rule Against Perpetuities to an option to purchase the land upon which a multi-story parking garage was constructed at the conclusion of a 75-year ground lease
  • Representation of a leading global investment bank in modifying a federal court injunction prohibiting foreclosure on properties worth millions of dollars
  • Representation of a cable television network in defending a trademark infringement suit brought by ExxonMobil alleging that the design of its logo infringed ExxonMobil’s interlocking X logo
  • Representation of a large homebuilder in defending against claims of copyright infringement of architectural designs for duplex townhomes involving complex issues relating to substantial similarity and the extent of copyright protection afforded to derivative works
  • Representation of an architecture firm in copyright litigation against developers involving the construction of apartment projects that allegedly infringed upon the client's copyrighted architectural works
  • Representation of an architecture firm in architectural copyright litigation against developers involving the construction of hundreds of single-family residences that allegedly infringed upon the client's copyrighted architectural works
  • Representation of an author in copyright litigation against motion picture producers and a talent agency involving allegations that a motion picture infringed the client's manuscript
  • Representation of a large real estate development company in defending against claims by an employee of the client's customer for tortious interference
  • Representation of a commercial real estate development limited partnership in prosecuting claims for breach of contract, fraud and tortious interference in connection with the purchase of a large tract of land for retail development
  • Representation of investors in prosecuting claims against a title insurance company for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty arising out of a transaction for the sale of numerous residential rental properties
  • Representation of a prominent Houston family and associated trusts in prosecuting claims against a national parking lot management company for underpayments of excess rent on a lease of a block of real estate in downtown Houston
  • Representation of a large public accounting firm in an arbitration involving claims for misappropriation of trade secrets relating to processes for cost segregation studies for tax purposes

Representative Published Decisions

  • Lennar Homes of Texas Sales and Marketing, Ltd. v. Perry Homes, LLC, 2015 WL 4633514 (S.D. Tex. July 24, 2015)
  • William T. Drennen III vs. Exxon Mobil Corp., 452 S.W.3d 319 (Tex. 2014)
  • Ezer v. Texas Tower Ltd., 2014 WL 3669222 (S.D. Tex. 2014)
  • BP Exploration Libya Ltd. v. ExxonMobil Libya Ltd., 689 F.3d 481 (5th Cir. 2012)
  • Ballard v. Devon Energy Production Co., L.P., 678 F.3d 360 (5th Cir 2012)
  • Grynberg v. BP PLC, 527 Fed. Appx. 278 (5th Cir 2013)
  • WPS, Inc. v. EnerVest Operating, L.L.C., 2010 WL 2244077 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2010, pet. denied)
  • Power Gas Mark’t & Trans., Inc. v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., 948 A.2d 807, 2001 (Pa. Super. 2008)
  • Young Refining Corp. v. Pennzoil Co., 46 S.W.3d 380 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist] 2001, writ denied)
  • Flameout Design & Fab., Inc. v. Pennzoil Caspian Corp., 994 S.W.2d 880 (Tex. App. —Houston [1st Dist.] 1999, writ denied)
  • Pennzoil Expl. & Prod. Co. v. Ramco Energy Ltd., 139 F.3d 1061 (5th Cir., 1998)
  • Becker v. PaineWebber, Inc., 962 F.2d 524 (5th Cir. 1992)

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