Over the last few years I have seen more “drilling in the courthouse” – the most interesting being claims of wellbore trespass and trespass by frac related to horizontal wells drilled in shale plays. I’ve successfully defended these and related claims in trial and in regulatory proceedings in multiple jurisdictions.
Jeff Trotter advises upstream and midstream oil and gas companies with operations throughout the United States and Canada. He provides counsel on all aspects of exploration, production, and natural gas storage, including acquisition and financing, permitting, taxation and other regulatory issues, contracts and contract disputes, title disputes, title examinations and division order title opinions. Jeff is experienced in exploration and seismic ventures, acquisition and divestiture of producing and non-producing oil and gas properties, development and implementation of E&P production facilities, gas storage facilities, solar energy projects and energy project financing.
In addition, he maintains a diverse litigation practice. Jeff has successfully litigated cases in state and federal courts in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and North Dakota in various fields including oil and gas, energy and environmental, banking, eminent domain, religion, commercial contracts, education, labor and employment, general premises liability, personal injury and wrongful death. Jeff has successfully argued appeals before the Mississippi Supreme Court and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Jeff is a practice group leader of the firm’s Special Business Services practice group.
“ When oil prices fell in 2014, so did tax revenues in oil and gas producing states. The taxing authorities continue to look for creative ways to interpret and apply tax laws – to assess taxes against oil and gas well operators to make up for lost revenue. I’m working with more and more of my clients to dispute these new tax assessments and related claims and help educate regulators regarding industry practices. ”
- University of Mississippi School of Law, J.D., 1993
- Mississippi State University, B.S., 1985
Areas of Practice
Jeff is listed in Best Lawyers® - Energy Law, Environmental Law and Oil & Gas Law; Chambers USA - Energy and Natural Resources; and Mid-South Super Lawyers® (by Thomson Reuters) Energy and Natural Resources, Class Action/Mass Torts 2011-2019.
Professional Affiliations & Memberships
Jeff is a member and former President of the Mississippi Oil and Gas Lawyers Association, member of the Mississippi Association of Petroleum Landmen and an adjunct professor of Oil and Gas Law at Mississippi College School of Law.
- Successfully defended international oil and gas operator of Williston Basin, ND, leasehold against claims to reform sale of vertically severed leasehold and against claims of wellbore trespass, trespass by frac, conversion and negligence. Successfully defended same client before the North Dakota Industrial Commission against pooled unit owner’s attempt to have NDIC allocate it a large share in hundreds of millions of dollars of operator’s production.
- Successfully defended and resolved multiple sales and use tax assessments against oil and gas well operators by state taxing authorities.
- Successfully obtained summary judgment for natural gas odorant manufacturer in products liability case arising from home explosion, death and serious injuries to occupants. Elliott v. El Paso Corp. 181 So.3d 263 (Miss. 2015).
- Served as Mississippi counsel for the acquisition of a state-of-the-art salt dome cavern natural gas storage facility in Smith County, Mississippi, consisting of two commercially operational caverns with a third cavern under development.
- Served as Mississippi counsel for development and implementation of natural gas storage facility in Monroe County, Mississippi, handling all state regulatory, environmental, financing, and contractual aspects as well as landowner contracts, rights of way, and eminent domain litigation related to the project.
- Successfully obtained condemnation confirmation and injunctive relief order from a state court of eminent domain against multiple property owners allowing a natural gas storage company to inject and store natural gas before the statutorily mandated fair value compensation hearing. Davidson v. Tarpon Whitetail Gas Storage LLC, 90 So.3d 691 (Miss. App. 2012).
- Successfully obtained dismissal of claims against Mississippi High School Activities Association alleging violation of due process rights arising under Individual with Disabilities Education Act. Newsome v. MHSAA et al, 2008 WL 2686579 (N.D.Miss.); aff’d 2009 WL 1706488 (C.A.5 (Miss.).
- Successfully obtained dismissal of claims against a regional bank asserted by multiple contractors/subcontractors in construction payment dispute. United Plumbing & Heating et al v. AmSouth Bank, 2009 WL 2152326, Miss.App., July 21, 2009.
- Served as lead Mississippi trial counsel in successful defense of hundreds of oilfield asbestos exposure lawsuits. Successfully obtained reversal and remand of $15.2 million dollar personal injury verdict. Phillips 66 Co. v. Lofton, 94 So.3d 1051 (Miss. 2012).
- Successfully resolved claims of clergy misconduct against religious institutions.