King & Spalding Launches Energy Law Exchange; Wins Unanimous Decision Before Supreme Court

Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 12:14

King & Spalding has launched its Energy Law Exchange, an online forum focused on trends and timely insights for energy industry lawyers and executives.

Drawing on the expertise of more than 250 King & Spalding lawyers, the Energy Law Exchange covers breaking news and important regulatory, transactional and dispute-related issues across all energy sectors, including oil and gas, LNG, electric power, renewable/alternative energy and mining and natural resources.  It also offers unique perspectives on global energy concerns specific to distinct regions.

The Exchange spotlights content from the firm’s well-established monthly Energy Newsletter, as well as news alerts on emerging issues with links to coverage from government agencies and reputable news sources.

“The Energy Law Exchange is a valuable resource on all things energy,” said Tim Engel, a founding editor of the Exchange and a partner in King & Spalding’s business litigation and global energy practices. “King & Spalding is in a unique position with the breadth of its practice to offer analysis and perspective on a multitude of legal issues facing the industry. It just made sense for us to share the firm’s expertise more widely through an online platform.”

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Jeffrey S. Bucholtz, a partner with King & Spalding, won a significant victory recently in the U.S. Supreme Court in Walden v. Fiore. The Court unanimously reversed the Ninth Circuit in an opinion that reaffirms and clarifies important due process limits on personal jurisdiction.

Petitioner Anthony Walden, a Covington, Georgia police officer, was working as a deputized U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. After a narcotics-detecting dog alerted to the presence of contraband, Officer Walden seized $97,000 in cash from respondents Gina Fiore and Keith Gipson as they were changing planes in Atlanta on their way to Las Vegas, Nevada. The respondents were allowed to board their flight to Nevada and were not arrested, and the government returned the money six months later after determining that it was lawful gambling winnings.

The respondents filed a Bivens (or constitutional tort) action against Officer Walden in federal district court in Nevada, alleging that Walden violated their Fourth Amendment rights by seizing the cash without probable cause and preparing a false affidavit in support of a potential forfeiture action.  Officer Walden denied the respondents' allegations. The district court dismissed the case for lack of personal jurisdiction because all of Officer Walden's conduct occurred in Georgia, but the Ninth Circuit reversed and held that both personal jurisdiction and venue were proper in Nevada.

The Supreme Court granted Officer Walden’s petition for certiorari in March 2013 and heard oral argument from Bucholtz on November 4, 2013. Mr. Bucholtz argued that Nevada lacked personal jurisdiction over Officer Walden because Officer Walden’s alleged conduct had no connection to Nevada. The Ninth Circuit had relied on the respondents' connections with Nevada, holding in effect that Walden had the required contacts with Nevada because he allegedly aimed his conduct at the respondents while knowing of their connections to Nevada. Mr. Bucholtz argued that the Ninth Circuit's analysis improperly focused on the connections between the defendant and the plaintiff and the plaintiff and the forum state, contrary to the Supreme Court's precedent holding that the defendant himself must have the required contacts with the forum state.

The Court agreed with Mr. Bucholtz, reversing the Ninth Circuit in a 9-0 decision authored by Justice Clarence Thomas.

Mr. Bucholtz was supported by the United States as well as several other amici curiae, including a coalition of 18 states and the District of Columbia, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. Bucholtz was assisted by former King & Spalding associate Daniel S. Epps and current associate Timothy H. Lee.

Mr. Bucholtz is a partner in the national appellate practice in the Washington, DC office of King & Spalding, and a member of the firm’s business litigation team. He frequently represents clients in the U.S. Supreme Court and the federal and state appellate courts as well as on important legal issues in trial court litigation and government investigations. Walden is his second argument in the U.S. Supreme Court.

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King & Spalding has advised Pacific LNG Operations Ltd. on its agreement, along with other parties, to sell to Australia-based Oil Search Limited certain of its interests in natural gas fields in Papua New Guinea. Initial consideration for the sale, which was announced earlier today, is US$900 million.

The King & Spalding team advising Pacific LNG Operations on this transaction was led by partners Dan Rogers (Singapore) and Benjamin Newland (Dubai).

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King & Spalding is representing private equity firm DouglasBay Capital (DBAY) in relation to the £280.8 million purchase of a majority holding in leading UK transport and infrastructure brand Eddie Stobart Logistics.

A management team backed by DBAY has agreed to buy a majority stake in Eddie Stobart Logistics from parent Stobart Group. Under the terms of the deal, Stobart Group proposes to realise 51 percent of Eddie Stobart Logistics. The transaction values Eddie Stobart Logistics at approximately £280.8 million comprising, £195.6 million in cash, £44.1 million in shares (giving the Stobart Group 49 percent of the purchasing company with 51 percent owned by funds managed by DBAY) and approximately £41.1 million in debt and debt-like items assumed by the purchaser.

Eddie Stobart Logistics is the holding company for the Stobart Group's Transport and Distribution Division (excluding the biomass transport operations). It employs around 5,000 people and operates some 2,300 vehicles, 3,200 trailers and over five million square feet of warehousing from more than 50 sites across the UK and Europe.

The London-based team advising DBAY on this transaction is led by corporate partner William Charnley and includes fellow partners Kevin Conway (tax) and Pulina Whitaker (employment) as well as counsel Marcus Young, senior associates Ilan Kotkis, Elizabeth Lyon and Leo Wilson and associate Susanna Marshall.