Expert Testimony and Litigation Support

Case Support, Advisement, and Project Management

Stillwater Associates offers expert testimony, litigation support, and arbitration support to law firms and individual clients on energy supply and distribution issues. We provide lost profits, business interruption, and damages analyses for events that have happened in the downstream petroleum industry. Stillwater advises 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. We have also advised in settlement negotiations.

Stillwater recognizes that litigation only arises after the related parties have exhausted efforts to resolve their disagreements. The original intent of the parties may not be clear. Circumstances in the markets have changed. The governing law itself may be in conflict. Industry insight alone will not settle the matter.

Knowledge of the industry and its common practices can identify strengths and weaknesses in the opposition’s position. The ability to bring together an understanding of the operational, accounting, financial, engineering, and science elements of the business can clarify the underlying disagreements of the parties in a way that can allow attorneys to focus on the legal issues in play. Our experts can assist the judge or jury in understanding the technical and commercial issues, and allow them to focus on the issues of their expertise – the law.

The person who directs this analysis will be the ultimate testifier. You will benefit from a witness with deposition and testimony experience, and a supporting staff of research experts in this industry. Your expert will easily meet the Daubert standard, and peer review excellence in comparison to the opposition expert.

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. Typical situations we have encountered in litigation and arbitration settings include:

  • Refinery downtime from fire and explosion
  • Economic loss from pipeline outages
  • Compliance with regulations and regulatory intent
  • Fair value for risks incurred
  • Petroleum operations
  • Impact of company mergers on the marketplace
  • Petroleum logistics, refining, and markets

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.

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.

    > Read Full Bio
  • 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.

    > Read Full Bio
  • 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.

    > Read Full Bio
  • 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.

    > Read Full Bio
  • 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.

    > Read Full Bio
  • 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.

    > Read Full Bio
  • 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.

    > Read Full Bio
  • 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.

    > Read Full Bio
  • 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.

    > Read Full Bio

Posts & News in Litigation

Is COVID-19 a Force Majeure Event? Contracts, COVID, COVID-19, Litigation Support - March 25, 2021 By Barry Schaps The entire transportation fuels supply chain, from crude oil wellhead to the retail service… > Read More
Stillwater Stars in Litigation Support - September 15, 2020 By Barry Schaps You are probably familiar with expert witnesses in legal cases from their appearances on… > 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