Texas Jury Awards Matrix Petroleum Nearly $100M in Eagle Ford Accounting Fraud Case


HOUSTON – A South Texas jury has awarded Matrix Petroleum nearly $100 million in lost proceeds from wells in the Eagle Ford Shale, finding that exploration company Talisman Energy committed fraud through its accounting methods and breach of the Joint Operating Agreement.

Matrix Petroleum, which was a non-operating working interest partner with Talisman in oil production leases on the Cooke Ranch near Cotulla, Texas, was represented in the month-long trial by Houston lawyer John H. Kim, founder of The Kim Law Firm. Talisman was purchased in 2015 by Spanish oil giant Repsol.

“The simple fact was that Talisman failed to provide accurate accounting on volume and revenues for more than five years,” says Mr. Kim. “It was not an oversight or an error in record-keeping. It was a conscious business decision that robbed Talisman’s business partners of millions upon millions of dollars in its revenues from real property interests.”

Jurors in La Salle County’s 218th Judicial District of Texas issued their verdict on Sept. 19 before Judge Russell Wilson.

According to court records, shortly after acquiring interest in the Cooke Ranch fields in 2011, Talisman instead began drilling three wells on an adjacent lease. That left the Cooke Ranch field idle and nearly resulted in the loss of drilling rights as work there did not begin within the required 90 days. When questioned about their actions by Matrix officials, Talisman representatives were reportedly dismissive of the concerns of their lease partners.

Since that time, Talisman acted unilaterally “hundreds” of times on developmental and operational matters in direct violation of the production field governing documents for Cooke Ranch, including the controlling Joint Operating Agreement from 1954.

“Through their actions and inactions, including ignoring multiple requests from Matrix for required daily drilling reports and detailed accounting statements, Talisman put the business interests of everyone in the joint operating agreement in jeopardy,” said Mr. Kim. “We are pleased that the jury recognized the exceptional arrogance central to Talisman’s business practices and did not allow them to walk away from their actions.”

Mr. Kim stressed his trial team, which consisted of Tim Rothberg, Denise Kim (lawyer and jury consultant), and Crystal Dang were invaluable. The Kim Law firm was hired in May of this year after years of litigation to handle the trial. “Our presentation of the Matrix positions was seamless because of the preparation of the team members, who all invested extraordinary commitment in the last four months.”

Mr. Kim and The Kim Law Firm represent defendants and plaintiffs in oil & gas litigation, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, securities litigation, claims of tortious interference and trade secret actions. The Kim Law Firm has recovered well in excess of a half billion dollars for clients directly and through counterclaims through aggressive litigation. The firm represents entrepreneurs, business start-ups, mid-sized companies, and established national and international corporations in everything from contract and complex business disputes to insider trading allegations, product liability and other intellectual property disputes. For more information, please visit https://thekimlawfirm.com.