Hicks Thomas Wins Dismissal of Offshore Contract Dispute for Helix Energy Solutions

HOUSTON – The Houston-based trial and appellate law firm Hicks Thomas LLP recently secured the successful dismissal of claims for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief filed against firm client Helix Energy Solutions Group. Hicks Thomas Partner John J. Deis served as lead counsel for Helix.

In June 2007, Houston-based Helix signed a contract with Murphy Exploration & Production Company to construct an offshore oil pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico. In support of that project, Helix hired Dyna Torque Technologies Inc. as a subcontractor to provide welding services. In November 2007, Helix cancelled its contract with Dyna Torque.

In response to the cancellation, Dyna Torque filed a state district court lawsuit against Helix based on breach of contract allegations. Hicks Thomas attorneys successfully won an appellate ruling from Texas’ 14th Court of Appeals in Houston that stayed the litigation and compelled both parties to resolve their claims in an arbitration proceeding, which was required as part of the original contract.

Just three days before arbitration was set to begin, Dyna Torque filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, seeking to stop the arbitration. Hicks Thomas attorneys then filed a motion to dismiss Dyna Torque’s claims, arguing that the federal court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the case and that Dyna Torque’s federal suit was an improper collateral attack on the order issued by the Texas 14th Court of Appeals.

U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon agreed with the argument presented by Hicks Thomas and granted Helix’s motion to dismiss Dyna Torque’s claims, stating “… the timing of Dyna Torque’s complaint indicates that the desire to avoid arbitration, not the issue of subject matter jurisdiction, provides the real motivation behind this suit.”

The ruling in Dyna Torque Technologies Inc. v. Helix Energy Solutions Group Inc., No. 4:12-CV- 1529, was handed down March 20, 2013.

For more information on Hicks Thomas’ appellate win, please contact Alan Bentrup at 800-559-4534 or alan@androvett.com.