United States of America and State of La. v. CITGO Petro. Corp.

(Client: CITGO Petroleum Corporation)

Firm lawyers succeeded in defeating a summary judgment motion filed by the United States against CITGO Petroleum Corporation in a Clean Water Act civil enforcement action pending in the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. Arising out of a 2006 oil spill, the United States sought summary judgment in an attempt to set the cap for a potential penalty at more than $1 billon. The government argued that CITGO should be penalized for the full volume of the oil spill, including the oil that CITGO successfully maintained on its property. After briefing and argument, Judge Richard T. Haik denied the government’s motion and held that CITGO can only be penalized for oil that actually escaped into navigable waters, reducing the potential penalty by up to $200 million. Richard Sarver and Craig Isenberg represented CITGO.