Jury Awards T. Boone Pickens $146 Million

PECOS, Texas (CN) — A West Texas jury awarded oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens $146 million in damages over the ownership and profits of over 160 oil wells.

Pickens’ company Mesa Petroleum Partners sued Midland-based Delaware Basin Resources and Dallas-based J. Cleo Thompson in Reeves County Court, claiming they breached a joint operating agreement and tried to cheat him out of ownership interests and profits in wells in Reeves and Pecos counties. The massive award on Wednesday came at the conclusion of a trial that lasted three weeks.

Pickens’ attorney Chrysta Castaneda in Dallas said Wednesday evening that Pickens was “very grateful” to the jury for “reaching a fair conclusion” in the case.

“We have maintained from the beginning that Mesa’s oil and gas interests were taken illegally,” Castaneda told CNBC. “The Red Bull is part of what is now one of the biggest resource plays in the world, and we are hopeful that the jury’s decision here will mean that the long history of fair dealings in the oil industry continues. This case emphasizes and validates important legal rights, and we are proud to have been a part of it.”

Paul Rudnicki, chief financial officer of J. Clea Thompson, said the firm was “gratified” that the jury’s judgment of $6 million against it “is a fraction” of how much Pickens wanted.

“This verdict also followed the court’s dismissal of most of Mesa’s other claims before trial,” Rudnicki said in a statement. “We believe the evidence does not support the verdict that J. Cleo Thompson breached the joint operating agreement. For example, J. Cleo Thompson did not even drill the wells at issue in the verdict. We plan to ask the judge to enter judgment in our favor on those points.”

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