On September 13, 2021, the 151st District Court issued a final judgment in favor of Gibbs & Bruns client David M. Dunwoody, Jr. against EnVen Energy Corporation following a three-week trial and jury verdict rendered on July 12, 2021.
Mr. Dunwoody is the former co-founder and President of EnVen Energy Corp. (“EnVen” or the “Company”). Gibbs & Bruns represented Dunwoody in litigation filed against the Company after EnVen refused to recognize Mr. Dunwoody’s resignation for Good Reason under his Employment Agreement. In 2013, Mr. Dunwoody co-founded EnVen, an oil and gas exploration and production company focused on the Gulf of Mexico. From 2013 through 2018, Mr. Dunwoody successfully hired and managed a team at EnVen and led multiple transformative corporate transactions that twice doubled EnVen’s oil and gas reserves and grew annual revenue to over $623 million. In May 2019, after the Company had reduced his share of management equity awards and disparaged him, Mr. Dunwoody exercised his contractual right to resign for Good Reason. The Company refused to honor his resignation, depriving Mr. Dunwoody of his right to contractual severance benefits.
The case had been set for trial in January 2021, but days before trial was to start, EnVen filed a mandamus appeal of the trial court’s denial of its motion for continuance. After emergency briefing, the 14th Court of Appeals denied EnVen’s mandamus. EnVen then filed a petition with the Texas Supreme Court which, after briefing, was also denied.
The case was tried starting on June 23, 2021. After a three-week trial, the jury delivered its verdict that Mr. Dunwoody had multiple, independent grounds to resign for Good Reason, that EnVen had breached and repudiated the Employment Agreement, and awarded Mr. Dunwoody contractual damages. On September 13, 2021, the Honorable Mike Engelhart entered final judgment in the matter, awarding our client over $12 million in actual damages, attorneys’ fees, and interest.
This client victory marks the sixth decade in which Robin Gibbs, Founding Partner of Gibbs & Bruns LLP, has obtained jury verdicts in the Harris County District Courts. Mr. Gibbs, who marks 50 years of trial law practice on September 20, 2021, secured jury verdicts in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s.
See The Texas Lawbook: Court Awards $12M to Oil Patch Exec in Employment Contract Dispute
Gibbs & Bruns LLP lawyers representing David Dunwoody, Jr.: Robin C. Gibbs, Anthony N. Kaim, Gabriel D. Kaim, Jorge Gutierrez and Conor McEvily.
Opposing counsel: Paul Spagnoletti, Antonio Perez-Marques, Matthew Cormack, Tess Liegeois of Davis Polk & Wardwell, LLP; Jim Staley of Ogletree Deakens; and Jennifer Caughey of Jackson Walker.