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Mark C. Rodriguez

Mark C. Rodriguez Partner, Energy Litigation

Mark is a trial attorney with nearly 20 years of experience representing energy industry clients in a broad range of lawsuits and arbitrations, including royalty disputes, class actions, disputes under operating agreements, and other energy-related contract disputes. 

In addition, he represents clients in administrative proceedings, audits, and investigations involving claims by state agencies and the federal government concerning royalties, civil penalties, notices of noncompliance, and the False Claims Act. Mark also counsels clients with regard to the calculation of federal and private royalties, including issues related to the handling of post-production costs. His nationwide energy practice includes lawsuits, arbitrations, and administrative proceedings in or involving Texas, Alaska, Colorado, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming. Additionally, Mark represents clients in appeals before the Department of the Interior Office of Hearings and Appeals, and the Office of Natural Resources Revenue.

Experience Highlights

  • Obtained a take-nothing arbitration award in Denver related to claims that a CO2 producer improperly paid more than $50 million in royalties on carbon dioxide produced in Colorado and sold for injection into oil reservoirs in the Permian Basin to enhance the recovery of oil (lead)
  • (5th Cir.); (N.D. Tex.) — Won and upheld summary judgment in bankruptcy court, federal district court, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of an independent oil and gas company on title claims related to leases and wells in the Barnett Shale (lead)
  • (Tex. Dist.) — Obtained summary judgment in South Texas state court on overriding royalty owners’ claims against operator for underpayment of royalties (lead)
  • (Tex. Dist. – Crockett Cnty.) — Obtained a take-nothing jury verdict in a six-week trial involving royalty owners’ claims for more than $70 million based on alleged failure to timely engage in enhanced recovery efforts and alleged royalty underpayment
  • (Tex. Dist. − Starr Cnty.) — Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a multinational energy company against landowner’s trespass and conversion claims seeking more than $100 million
  • Representing an independent oil and gas producer in appeals of ONRR Orders to Report and Pay additional royalties on Wyoming oil and coalbed methane production (lead)
  • Representing multiple producers in various appeals to the Department of Interior Office of Hearings and Appeals from ONRR Notices of Noncompliance and Civil Penalty
  • Represented an operator in administrative appeals of ONRR Orders to Report and Pay, and Notice of Noncompliance, alleging underpayment of royalties, improper transportation allowance deductions, and seeking civil penalties; we successfully negotiated favorable settlement of all claims

Energy Litigation

  • (Tex. Dist.) — Obtained complete dismissal of South Texas state court action against an operator involving claims for property damage and personal injury arising out of a well explosion
  • (D. Colo.); (10th Cir.) — Defended oil and gas operators and working interest owners in four putative class actions and other individual actions filed in Colorado federal district court for underpayment of carbon dioxide royalties, improper pricing, excessive transportation deductions, and antitrust violations; defeated class certification, and matters were successfully settled in advance of trial; the settlement classes were then approved by the district court and affirmed on appeal (lead)
  • (Tex Dist.); (Tex. App.) — Represented an operator of carbon dioxide unit in competing Texas state class action lawsuits involving claims for underpayment of royalties, breach of express and implied covenants, and improper pricing. Obtained dismissal of competing class action lawsuits, and dismissal affirmed on appeal (lead)
  • Obtained a take-nothing arbitration panel decision on behalf of an operator in arbitration filed by royalty interest owners seeking more than $12 million for alleged underpayment of royalties due to alleged improper calculation of pipeline transportation tariff and excessive deduction of transportation charges (lead)
  • (Colo. Dist.) — Obtained favorable settlement in advance of trial in the defense of an operator/working interest owner in Colorado state court action for underpayment of royalties on carbon dioxide, improper pricing, excessive transportation deductions, failure to develop carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon reserves, violation of Colorado antitrust and civil theft statutes, and Colorado Organized Crime Control Act (lead)
  • (Tex. Dist.) — Obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of an operator/working interest owner in Texas state court title dispute filed by alleged interest owner seeking payment/recognition of overriding royalties and after-payout working interests (lead)
  • (Tex. Dist.) — Obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of an operator/working interest owner in various South Texas state court actions filed by royalty owners for failure to protect against drainage and underpayment of royalties (lead)

State & Federal Administrative Proceedings, Audits, and Investigations

  • (Colo. Dist.) — Obtained a favorable settlement in advance of trial on behalf of an operator of a carbon dioxide unit in Colorado state court action involving claims by Colorado taxing authority for underpayment of severance taxes on carbon dioxide production
  • Obtained take-nothing settlement on behalf of lessee in appeal of Wyoming state severance tax assessment before the Wyoming State Board of Equalization

Contact Details

Houston

T +1.713.758.3288
M +1.832.646.4306
F +1.713.615.5314
mrodriguez@velaw.com
1001 Fannin Street
Suite 2500
Houston, TX 77002
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Mark's Practices

  • Harvard Law School, J.D., 1995
  • Rice University, B.A., Psychology, 1992
  • Admitted to practice: Texas; all Texas courts; U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas; Fifth and Tenth U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal
  • Other Language: Fluent in Spanish
    • Selected to the Texas Super Lawyer list, Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), 2014−2017
    • The Best Lawyers in America© (Woodward/White, Inc.), Commercial Litigation, 2014—2017; Energy Law, 2014—2017
    • Legal 500 U.S., Energy Litigation Law, 2011 and 2012
      • State Bar of Texas Oil and Gas Pattern Jury Charge Committee (2011–current)
      • State Bar of Texas Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Law Section Council (2011–2014)
      • Institute of Energy Law Advisory Board
      • Member: American Bar Association; Energy Litigation Committee, American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation; Houston Bar Association