Ms. Becker is a shareholder in the firm, where she is a member of the firm's litigation practice, and she focuses her work on appellate and energy-related issues. In her appellate practice, Ms. Becker has been retained to assess the likelihood of success on appeal, and she has handled appeals in the Louisiana courts of appeal, the Louisiana Supreme Court, and the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal. She has experience with administrative appeals, including numerous appeals to the Louisiana Tax Commission and the Louisiana Board of Tax Appeals. Ms. Becker's oil and gas practice includes landowner/mineral lease disputes, interpretation of joint operating agreements, legacy litigation, payment of royalties, lease maintenance, lease developments, assignment of lease interests, severance tax payments, and ad valorem taxes. She received her B.A. degree, with distinction, from the University of Virginia in 1998, and her J.D. degree, Order of the Coif, from the Paul M. Hebert, Louisiana State University Law Center in 2001.
Significant representation in appellate matters by Ms. Becker include:
•Assisted trial team in obtaining writ grant from the Louisiana Supreme Court, reversing decision of First Circuit Court of Appeal, and reinstating trial court judgment dismissing suit brought by landowners in Haynesville Shale area as an improper use of a declaratory judgment proceeding in an effort to invalidate unit-wide orders of the Louisiana Commissioner of Conservation. Gatti, et al. v. State of Louisiana, through the Office of Conservation, et al, 2014-C-863 (La. 8/25/14).
•Represented BP in a legacy case and secured (i) unanimous opinion from the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal affirming a jury verdict in favor of BP, Houssiere v. ASCO USA, 12-791 (La. App. 3 Cir. 1/16/13), 108 So. 3d 797, and (ii) denial of Plaintiff-landowners' writ application to the Louisiana Supreme Court. The Houssiere plaintiffs brought breach of contract and tort claims against BP under Act 312 for alleged contamination of property caused by historic oil and gas operations. The jury rejected Plaintiffs' claims, finding that BP did not cause environmental damage to Plaintiffs' property. The Third Circuit affirmed the jury's findings and also held that the trial court properly applied Act 312 to Plaintiffs' claims as presented at trial.
•Represented Monsanto in seeking appellate review of denial of enforcement of an arbitration agreement. After the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal denied Monsanto's writ application, Ms. Becker obtained a writ grant from the Louisiana Supreme Court with an order that the Second Circuit issue a decision on the matter. Hanlon v. Monsanto AG Prods., LLC, 2013-0169 (La. 3/1/13), 108 So. 3d 781. Following remand from the Louisiana Supreme Court, the Second Circuit reversed the trial court and ruled in favor of Monsanto, finding the arbitration clause valid and enforceable. Hanlon v. Monsanto AG Prods., LLC, 48,010 (La. App. 2 Cir. Oct. 9, 2013), 2013 La. App. Lexis 2019.
•Represented Dow Chemical Company as appellate counsel to assist trial counsel in seeking discretionary review by the Louisiana Supreme Court of an intermediate appellate court decision that had reversed a district court judgment dismissing class action plaintiffs' claims for punitive damages. The Louisiana Supreme Court granted the writ application and, with an accompanying order, reinstated the district court decision. Thomas v. A. Wilbert & Sons, Inc, 2012-1534 (La. 10/12/12), 98 So. 3d 879.
•Secured dismissal at the pleadings stage of RICO and fraud claims asserted against numerous oil and gas producers and their corporate officers. The dismissal was affirmed on appeal. Bonvillain v. La. Land & Exploration Co., No. 10-30810, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 13366 (5th Cir. June 28, 2011.
•Successfully represented a major oil and gas company at the trial and appellate levels in its defense of a claim for more than $60 million brought by the State of Louisiana. On cross motions for summary judgment, the district court ordered the money refunded to the taxpayer. The Louisiana First Circuit of Appeal affirmed, and the Louisiana Supreme Court denied writs. BP Prods. N. Am. v. Bridges, 2010-1860 (La. App. 1 Cir. 8/10/11), 77 So. 3d 27.
•Obtained a unanimous Louisiana Supreme Court decision in favor of an integrated energy company in a dispute over property taxes. Gisclair v. La. Tax Comm'n, 2009-0007 (La. 6/26/09), 16 So. 3d 877.
•Retained as appellate counsel for a major oil and gas producer against whom a Louisiana district court had entered judgment assessing damages with respect to operations conducted on leased premises to support a drilling operation on an adjoining tract. This trial court judgment was reversed in its entirety by the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal and confirmed by a writ denial from the Louisiana Supreme Court. Fuller v. XTO Energy, Inc., 43,454 (La. App. 2 Cir. 8/13/08), 989 So. 2d 298.