Robert D. Woods
Robert focuses his practice on complex disputes in the oil and gas industry. Combining substantial litigation experience and substantive industry knowledge, he regularly handles royalty, lease termination, subsurface trespass, JOA, processing/gathering agreements, environmental contamination, surface use, and similar issues in a variety of jurisdictions, including Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Arkansas, and the Gulf of Mexico. Robert has presented opening statements, cross-examined witnesses, taken and defended numerous depositions, and negotiated favorable settlements in dozens of oil and gas cases. He also provides clients with in-depth counsel to help them avoid disputes before they arise.
Robert is recognized in energy and natural resource litigation as a Chambers USA "Associate to Watch" and as a “Texas Rising Star” by Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers. He also is named "One to Watch" in Commercial Litigation and Oil & Gas Law by Best Lawyers in America. Robert launched prudentoperator.com, a blog providing digestible and relevant commentary on oil and gas litigation and industry current events, and regularly publishes and presents on emerging issues in the oil and gas industry. Robert is also one of 40 professionals from around the country to be selected to the prestigious Institute for Energy Law 2nd Leadership Class for 2019-2020.
- Sierra Frac Sand v. CDE Global (E.D. Tex.) Secured dismissal for forum non conveniens of a multi-million fraud and breach of contract lawsuit arising out of the sale of sand processing equipment.
- Briggs v. Southwestern Energy (Pennsylvania Supreme Court) Assisted client in coordinating briefing in landmark appeal of subsurface trespass issues in the Marcellus Shale, including amici.
- Chieftain Royalty v. Newfield (E.D. Okla) Defending operator against a putative class action alleging underpayment of interest on oil and gas proceeds.
- Apollo v. Apache (Midland County, Texas) Secured no evidence summary judgment on the eve of trial for operator against alleged multi-hundred million dollar claims under purchase and sale agreements and joint operating agreements related to carried interests and alleged failure to preserve leasehold.
- Confidential Client. Secured a favorable settlement for an overriding royalty interest owner related to the deduction of post-production costs in Oklahoma.
- Confidential Client. Secured favorable settlement in multi-million-dollar trespass to try title dispute in South Texas regarding retained acreage after summary judgment briefing.
- Silverbow Resources v. Regency (McMullen County, Texas) Secured summary judgment on the eve of trial against an adjacent operator’s alleged $200 million subsurface trespass and nuisance lawsuit arising from underground disposal of sour gas.
- Sanchez v. Noble Energy. Secured dismissal for forum non conveniens of a high-profile nuisance and personal injury lawsuit brought against Noble Energy in Texas state court.
- Smith v. Southwestern Energy (E.D. Arkansas) Part of a team that secured a full defense jury verdict in a two-week $300 million trial of a royalty underpayment class action related to an affiliate midstream contract.
- RSM Production v. Noble Energy (S.D. Texas) Secured dismissal of an application for foreign discovery related to a natural gas project in Israel.
- Eagle Ford Royalty Cases. Representation and settlement of over a dozen royalty claims at all stages of litigation in various South Texas jurisdictions.
- Numerous advisory matters relating to joint operating agreements, subsurface trespass, gas gathering/processing contracts, offshore indemnity, and royalty payment issues in multiple jurisdictions.
- "Ones to Watch" in Commercial Litigation and Oil and Gas Law, Best Lawyers in America, 2021-2022
- "Texas Rising Star," in Energy & Natural Resources by Thomson Reuters' Super Lawyers, 2019-2021
- "Associate to Watch," in Energy & Natural Resource Litigation, Chambers USA: America's Leading Business Lawyers in Texas, 2020
- Houston Young Lawyers’ Association (Board of Directors, 2018-2019; Leadership Academy Co-Chair, 2017–2019)
- Institute for Energy Law (Advisory Board; Young Professionals Leadership Council, 2019-2021)
- Member: Institute for Energy Law 2nd Leadership Class, 2019-2020
- Member: Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation
- Member: Oil, Gas & Mineral Law Section, Houston Bar Association
- “Royalty Litigation Trends and Developments,” Institute for Energy Law 5th National Young Energy Professionals’ Law Conference October 22, 2021 (presenter)
- “Bluestone: Texas Supreme Court Adds to Law on Postproduction Costs and Analyzes Issue of First Impression on Free Use Clause,” The Energy Dispatch, Institute for Energy Law, June 2021
- “Royalty Litigation Update,” Houston Bar Association Oil, Gas & Mineral Law Section CLE, May 27, 2021 (co-presenter)
- "Be Careful What You Bargain For: A Litigator's Perspective on Negotiating and Interpreting Oil and Gas Contracts in Texas," TJOGEL Symposium. February 2021 (co-presenter)
- "Trends in Royalty Litigation in Texas, the Fifth Circuit, and Beyond," 2019 TJOGEL Symposium (presenter)
- “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