Robert D. Woods
Robert focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation, with an emphasis on matters related to the energy sector. As the son of two petroleum geologists, he has a passion for the commercial arrangements, technology, and most importantly the people involved in the international energy industry. Robert has assisted with advising independent domestic and large multinational energy companies in onshore and offshore disputes relating to the underpayment of royalties, natural gas gathering & processing agreements, lease termination, lease audits, managerial compensation and fiduciary duties, trade secrets, and artificial lift technology.
Robert earned his B.A. in Government, Phi Beta Kappa, with Highest Honors, from the University of Texas at Austin, where he participated in the Liberal Arts Honors program. In college, he was a recipient of the Eva S. Woods Unrestricted Endowed Presidential scholarship and helped co-found an organization that sought to engage college students with advocacy before the U.S. Supreme Court. He graduated, with honors, from the University of Chicago Law School in 2014.
Robert serves on the Leadership Council of the Institute for Energy Law Young Energy Professionals Committee. He also is a published author on emerging issues in oil and gas litigation. Robert founded PrudentOperator.com, a blog dedicated to covering important news and trends in oil and gas litigation.
- Smith v. SEECO, Inc., et al. Part of trial team representing Southwestern Energy and affiliates in contract and fraud class actions concerning post-production expense deductions from royalty payments. Through overlapping class actions in Arkansas state and federal courts, various plaintiffs representing more than 12,000 class members alleged that Southwestern’s affiliate was prohibited from deducting the costs of its sister-company’s gas gathering services. After a two-week trial in Little Rock, the firm and co-counsel achieved a complete defense victory, with the jury rejecting the plaintiff’s claim for $300 million in actual and punitive damages and penalties.
- Sanchez v. Noble Energy. Secured dismissal of a nuisance and personal injury lawsuit brought against Noble Energy in Texas state court involving an alleged accident that occurred in Colorado. After briefing and argument, the court granted our motion to dismiss for forum non conveniens, dismissing the lawsuit with prejudice.
- Advised independent exploration and production company in multi-million dollar dispute over alleged underpayment of royalty in a major shale play.
- Advised large exploration and production company in multi-million dollar trespass to try title action in a major shale play.
- Advised large exploration and production company in disputes related to projects in the outer continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico.
- Represented third-party witnesses in a confidential arbitration brought by large exploration and production company against a former executive.
- Advised multinational exploration and production company in accounting dispute under a gas gathering contract in a major shale play.
- Advised multinational exploration and production company in a dispute under a gas processing contract in a major shale play.
- "Texas Rising Star," in Energy & Natural Resources by Thomson Reuters' Super Lawyers, 2019
- Board of Directors: Houston Young Lawyers' Association, 2018-2019
- Member: Leadership Council, Young Energy Professionals Committee; Advisory Board, Institute for Energy Law
- Member: Leadership Academy, 2016-2017; Energy Counsel Committee, Houston Young Lawyers’ Association
- Member: Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation
- Member: Oil, Gas & Mineral Law Section, Houston Bar Association
- “Royalty Litigation and Class Actions in Texas and the Fifth Circuit,” The Advocate, Winter 2018 (co-author)
- "The Royalty Class Action Trial - Lessons Learned," Institute for Energy Law 17th Annual Energy Litigation Conference, November 8, 2018 (co-presenter)
- "Recent Developments Regarding The Discovery Rule and Fraudulent Concealment Doctrine," The Page Keeton Civil Litigation Conference, October 27, 2016 (presenter)
- Co-Chair: 9th Annual General Counsel Forum, September 2016; 8th Annual General Counsel Forum, October 2015, Institute for Energy Law Young Professionals
- “An Uncertain Fate for Oil and Gas Midstream Agreements,” Law360, February 2016
- “Are Modern ‘Compensatory’ Royalty Clauses Unenforceable Penalty Clauses? Five Factors To Guide The Analysis,” Section Report of the Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Law Section, State Bar of Texas, Spring 2016
- University of Chicago Law School, J.D., with honors, 2014
- University of Texas, B.A., with Highest Honors, 2011 (Phi Beta Kappa, Eva S. Woods Unrestricted Presidential Scholarship)
- Admitted to practice: Texas, 2014; U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, 2015