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TheStreet Open House

Plains Pipeline Prevails In Houston Indemnity Lawsuit, Awarded $450,000 In Legal Fees

Stocks in this article: BPPAA

HOUSTON, April 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Plains All American Pipeline, L.P., (NYSE: PAA) recently won a victory against BP Oil Pipeline Company (NYSE: BP) when a Houston judge tossed a BP lawsuit and ordered the company to pay all of Plains Pipeline's legal fees.

Last week, the judge in Harris County's 80 th District Court awarded $453,400 in attorneys' fees for Plains Pipeline based on arguments from attorneys John Zavitsanos and Elizabeth Pannill Fletcher from Houston's Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing, P.C. (or AZA).

Two weeks ago, the judge dismissed a BP lawsuit filed in 2011 that sought to force Plains Pipeline to indemnify BP in a Louisiana trespass lawsuit. The Houston case was filed by BP due to a prior lawsuit by landowners who claimed BP trespassed on their property by using an oil pumping station on Grand Terre Island for 26 years without leasing or having any easement on the land. BP sold the pumping station to Plains Pipeline in 2006 before filing the Harris County lawsuit in an attempt to require Plains Pipeline to cover any BP losses. Click here (subscription required) to see a story from Law360 about the case.

In 2012, before AZA was hired, the Court granted BP a summary judgment that required Plains Pipeline to cover BP's losses, including awarding attorneys' fees to BP.

That's when Plains Pipeline hired AZA to step in. Five months after AZA asked for the court's reconsideration in October 2012, the case was dismissed with attorneys' fees being awarded to Plains Pipeline instead. AZA made clearer the full terms of the agreements between BP and Plains Pipeline and why BP had no actual claim to indemnification.

"This is a just reversal of fortune for our client. It's unusual, but entirely appropriate here, to see a defendant granted attorneys' fees under the declaratory judgment statute," says Mr. Zavitsanos, a founding partner of AZA.

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