James P. Tuite’s practice focuses on complex commercial and regulatory litigation, with a particular emphasis on issues affecting the energy industry.
Practice & Background
Mr. Tuite has represented energy, natural resource, transportation, health care companies, Indian tribes, and other entities in federal court trials and before federal and state agencies. He has handled cases involving administrative law, antitrust, business torts, constitutional law, consumer class actions, federal preemption, energy and transportation regulation, royalties and natural resource valuation, the False Claims Act, Indian gaming, tribal trust management, patents, trade secrets, Medicare contracts, and federal and state taxation. Many of Mr. Tuite’s cases have had substantial economic issues at their core; as a result, he has worked with some of the nation’s foremost economists in the development and presentation of expert testimony. Mr. Tuite is also an experienced appellate advocate, having argued more than a dozen cases before the U.S. courts of appeals and prepared numerous briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mr. Tuite has handled many cases for energy companies. He has extensive experience with the types of legal issues that arise in connection with the exploration, production, refining, transportation, distribution and marketing of crude oil and refined petroleum products and with the production and transportation of natural gas.
Mr. Tuite’s representative matters include:
- serving as lead counsel for a large Russian oil company defendant in an antitrust class action MDL brought by direct purchasers of refined petroleum products alleging collusion with companies owned by or affiliated with members of OPEC; district court granted motion to dismiss, 5th Circuit affirmed, and Supreme Court denied certiorari
- leading the trial team for plaintiff Indian tribe in suit against the United States for failure to collect full royalties due on oil and gas production on reservation lands and for other breaches of trust responsibilities; obtained a series of favorable rulings in successive trials, resulting in a $380 million settlement payment to the tribe
- defending a large regional marketer of gasoline and diesel against claims under the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act and for breach of contract/fiduciary duty; claims denied on summary judgment
- defending a large refiner and marketer in a massive consumer class action MDL claiming that the failure to adjust price or volume when selling at retail motor fuel warmer than the alleged industry standard of 60°F is a deceptive practice in violation of state consumer protection statutes
- defending a large international holding company in an ongoing federal court action in which plaintiff seeks more than $1 billion based on claims of breach of contract and fiduciary duty, promissory estoppel and misappropriation of trade secrets
- defending a major integrated oil company against Sherman Act claims alleging monopolization and attempted monopolization of the market for purchasing and transporting Alaska North Slope natural gas and against Clayton Act claims challenging the lawfulness of a series of oil company mergers; district court granted motion to dismiss
- representing a large refiner of petroleum products in price manipulation investigations by the Federal Trade Commission and by state attorneys general
- successfully petitioning, on behalf of four major refiners, the Federal Trade Commission to bring an antitrust action challenging patent holder’s deception in standard-setting process to gain monopoly power over the reformulated gasoline market in California and then representing the refiners in resulting trial, which culminated in a consent decree prohibiting enforcement of relevant patents
- defending an affiliate of a major integrated oil company in a federal court action by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico alleging that the three largest gasoline marketers on the island had overcharged consumers by hundreds of millions of dollars; after trial, district court rejected all claims, and 1st Circuit affirmed
- defending a major North Slope oil producer against claims by the State of Alaska seeking approximately $1 billion in production and severance taxes; had primary responsibility at trial for a $325 million issue and obtained a judgment of no liability.
Mr. Tuite serves on the Executive Committee of the Council for Court Excellence, a nonprofit civic organization that works to improve the administration of justice in the local and federal courts in Washington, D.C.
“FTC’s Antitrust Challenge to Unocal’s Reformulated Gasoline Patents” at the annual ABA Petroleum Marketing Attorneys meeting, March 2005.