Case Support, Advisement, and Project Management

Stillwater Associates offers expert testimony litigation support to law firms and individual clients on energy supply and distribution issues. We advise counsel on how the energy industry functions, analyze the merits of a client’s case, provide case management, write position papers, participate in depositions, and offer testimony. Stillwater Associates has also advised in settlement negotiations.

We have provided expert testimony before the U.S. Congress and the California Public Utilities Commission. We have delivered litigation support services on a wide variety of subjects including the impact of oil company mergers on the marketplace, oil refining and market issues, interstate fuel transit, petroleum operations, and refining business and technical petroleum issues.

Recently Stillwater provided expert witness services to the respondent in an $8 billion case. Our team provided the client an overview of the refining and marketing industries, reviewed the claimant’s expert report, analyzed operating and other data from the facility, and wrote two expert reports disputing the claimant’s expert’s results. The panel found wholly for our client.

Our clients include major oil and gas producers and suppliers; holding companies; multi-national companies; start-ups; processing and distribution companies; developers and owners of renewable energy sources; and trading companies.

Our experience runs deep

Our associates have extensive expertise in energy transactions, oil and refined products pipelines, the sale and purchase of transportation fuels assets such as terminals and refineries, mergers and acquisitions, fuels storage, transmitting arrangements, economic and safety regulations, transportation fuels infrastructure, downstream and midstream markets, and alternative fuels like bio-based diesel.

Please contact us to learn more about our litigation support services.

A short summary of some of our experience.

  • Testimony before the California Public Utilities Commission on oil refining and market issues
  • Testimony and litigation support on interstate fuel transit
  • Litigation support on petroleum operations
  • Testimony and litigation support on the petroleum industry in Hawaii
  • Congressional testimony on the impact of oil company mergers on the marketplace
  • Testimony on the refining business and technical petroleum issues in class action suit against Unocal
  • Expert witness report on petroleum logistics, refining and markets

Lead Team Members In Testimony and Litigation Support

  • David Hackett — President

    Dave Hackett has advised many transportation fuels industry and government clients, both federal and state. He has also provided consulting and expert testimony – in the form of expert reports, analysis of data, written rebuttals, and explanations of industry standards and processes – to law firms and their clients on fuels supply and distribution matters. Among the recent cases on which Dave has worked are: a recently concluded arbitration between a construction company and a refiner on $2 billion of lost profits, ongoing contractual litigation pending in Federal District Court in Texas, and an ongoing case between the California State Department of Justice (representing California's Air Resources Board) in a complaint alleging that BP West Coast Products delivered fuel that failed to comply with required specifications.

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  • David Bulfin — Vice President – Operations Research

    Dave Bulfin has extensive experience providing impactful litigation support relating to supply chain, industry standards, and contracts. His expertise has been sought in multi-million dollar cases involving government entities and transportation fuel giants including Arco, Shell, BP, Suncor. In recent cases, Dave has built dock simulations, compared contract clauses against industry standards, conducted damage analysis, explained the transportation fuels supply chain, and clarified standard industry classifications for various forms of modified product. Dave's support regularly leads to wins for the clients he advises.

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  • James Ahrens — Senior Associate

    James Ahrens provides litigation support in oil refining disputes focusing on refinery construction and valuations. In a recent $8 billion case before an arbitration panel, James analyzed refinery linear programs and assumptions in the opposing counsel’s expert report claiming lost profits of $2 billion. As a result, the arbitration panel ruled in favor of our client. James has also provided support for development of refinery appraisals to challenge county ad valorem tax assessments. James’ primary duty was to develop economic obsolescence calculations for various refinery process units. He also helped prepare price and logistics calculations for developing income approach method. These appraisals resulted in significant tax savings for refinery owners.

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  • Michael W. Bloch — Senior Associate

    Michael W. Bloch provides litigation support for contract disputes regarding crude oil and product sales/purchase agreements, market pricing, storage, transportation, and quality. In a recent crude oil market pricing case involving crude oil futures prices manipulation, Michael provided an expert report explaining how the defendants fraudulently lowered a marker crude price and identified additional parties who were harmed by this price manipulation. Disputes often arise when deals are struck without careful review or advance planning. Michael specializes in identifying ambiguous or conflicting contract terms that potentially can lead to improper operational and administrative performance that may not be consistent with the parties intent or the contract terms.

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  • Ralph Grimmer — Senior Associate

    Ralph Grimmer provides litigation support in crude oil and refined products logistics disputes. With a wealth of downstream leadership experience, Ralph provides analysis of logistics assets utilization and valuations. His testimony to a state PUC in a crude oil pipeline dispute contributed to the PUC's decision to require the pipeline to change from private status to common carrier status and to issue the common carrier tariff rates proposed by the plaintiffs. Ralph also provided analysis of off-spec gasoline pipeline distribution by a large refiner that aided a state regulatory agency in determining the appropriate penalty that should be assessed. Ralph’s experience heading operations for a Master Limited Partnership and leading a regional crude oil and refined products supply/trading organization are indicative of his operational and commercial experience that can be drawn on by clients. Having also led multiple refineries’ crude selection and product mix optimization groups, Ralph can advise on the impact of supply/trading activities on refinery profitability.

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  • Vaughn Hulleman — Senior Associate

    Vaughn Hulleman has led analysis to support pre-trial negotiations of several large resource-sector projects and regulatory contracts. This includes the analysis of legislation, regulations, and stakeholder financial impacts for a major cross-continent gas pipeline proposal, a GTL refinery proposal, and several major power plant commercial disputes.

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  • Enoch J. (E.J.) Ledet — Senior Associate

    Enoch J. (EJ) Ledet provides litigation support in refinery laboratory and gasoline certification disputes. EJ specializes in ensuring refinery product quality in laboratory operations management and in the design and use of laboratory quality assurance systems. EJ provides analysis of analytical lab results in cases where refinery laboratory practices are in question. In past cases he has reviewed, critiqued, and summarized analytical laboratory staff depositions.

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  • Michael Leister — Senior Associate

    Mike Leister has provided deposition and expert testimony describing state-level distribution and retail gasoline systems. In a case between the American Petroleum Institute and the state of North Carolina he offered explanation of how the Renewable Fuels Standard’s Renewable Identification Number system worked, and he offered expert insight into the impacts of North Carolina’s law that terminals must provide any gasoline desired by a customer. Mike’s depth of knowledge and experience informs his testimony as he offers invaluable insight during legal proceedings.

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  • Leigh Noda — Senior Associate

    Leigh Noda offered litigation support in the multi-billion-dollar case dealing with a delay in refining construction expansion which causing economic harm. Leigh analyzed financial data to develop and prove the poor performance pattern of the plaintiff. He also assessed the work of the plaintiff’s expert to expose flaws in his analysis and arguments. Due in part to Leigh's expert analysis, the defendants won in arbitration.

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  • Ronald D. Pike — Senior Associate

    Ronald D. (Ron) Pike provides litigation support in myriad areas including expertise in gasoline blending, equipment set-up, chemistry, and testing. In a recent case he provided the plaintiff with background on how a refinery might blend around Unocal gasoline patents, and he offered deposition on the same subject in a subsequent class action suit.

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Posts & News in Litigation

Our Trip to the Center for American and International Law Annual Oil and Gas Law Conference News - February 28, 2017 by Rob Jaques Stillwater's litigation support business has grown significantly over the past couple of years. These > Read More
Gasolinazo! What’s going on with gasoline prices in Mexico? White Paper - January 26, 2017 by David Hackett The recent rise in gasoline prices in Mexico has driven significant unrest early this > Read More
Another upset at the Torrance Refinery News - November 16, 2016 The former ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, CA experienced an upset this week. As news helicopters circled above, > Read More