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Patton Boggs Disavows Pipeline Contract Terms

DALLAS (CN) - Hoping to fend off a $1.3 million legal malpractice suit over the Bartonville Pipeline, Patton Boggs says it is not liable for questionable contract language.

Gaedeke Holdings VI Ltd., Gaedeke Gulftex Gathering LLC and Gaedeke Bartonville Pipeline Ltd. sued the Washington, D.C.-based law firm and Dallas attorney Vince Murchison last year in Dallas County Court.

Gaedeke claims that a negligently drafted agreement will prevent it from receiving the bargained-for purchase-price adjustment that the lawyers allegedly negotiated with seller Gulftex Gathering LP.

But Patton Boggs and Murchison say that liability lies with third parties, namely Gaedeke executives Mark Reed and Glen Lickstein. The lawyers identify Reed as vice president of the Gaedeke Group, president of Gaedeke Energy Inc. and vice president of several other entities. They say Lickstein was executive vice president and chief financial officer of the Gaedeke Group, and vice president of several Gaedeke entities that manage the company's oil and gas assets.

In motion filed with Judge Jim Jordan on Monday, Patton Boggs says the contract "accurately reflects the contract terms communicated by Gaedeke's officers."

Reed and Lickstein allegedly had a chance to review and revise the language they allegedly communicated to the lawyers, and still gave their approval, according to the motion.

"Reed acknowledges that he only read the transaction documents, which are many pages in length, in a cursory fashion," the six-page motion states. "Reed, on the eve of closing, negotiated with Gulftex new terms for the Bartonville Pipeline transaction yet left for vacation in Alaska before the transaction was finalized. Even after his return from Alaska, Reed failed to read the transactional documents or to take any action to address those documents with Gaedeke's new counsel."

Patton Boggs says Lickstein told it the documents "looked okay" to him prior to closing.

"Lickstein took no action to prevent the transaction from closing even though he says he had doubts about how the transactional documents operated," the motion states. "Lickstein took no action to address any concerns he had with the transactional documents with Gaedeke's new counsel."

It adds: "In short, if as Gaedeke now alleges, [the contract] should have included different language, Reed and Lickstein bear responsibility for negligently allowing the Bartonville Pipeline transaction to close without such language, and thus causing the plaintiffs' damages."

Patton Boggs' motion was authored by Campbell Chadwick attorney Bruce Campbell.

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