Baker Hughes v. UE Compression


Foley advised Baker Hughes on the case

A team of Foley attorneys urged a federal appeals court to reinstate a lawsuit filed by their client, a unit of oilfield services giant Baker Hughes, against the supplier of seven allegedly defective air compressors, one of which exploded at a Chevron project in Western Australia and injured a contractor’s employee.

The Foley team, which included partner Geoffrey Bracken (Picture), special counsel Stacy R. Obenhaus and associate Jill M. Hale, told a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that a fact-finder should decide who was responsible for the design of the compressors.

A trial court judge had granted summary judgment to the supplier, UE Compression, in October 2017, saying the only warranty language in the contract between the parties was for defect corrections in the product, which were only covered for 18 months. Because the explosion took place more than 18 months after shipment, she said, it wasn’t covered under the warranty provision.

Bracken told the appeals court the trial court was wrong to grant summary judgment to UE. He argued that under the agreement, UE was responsible for the design of the compressors, not Foley’s client, Baker Hughes Process and Pipeline Services LLC.

The Baker Hughes unit and UE entered into an agreement in December 2011 under which UE agreed to provide seven air booster compressors at a cost of about $1 million each for use at Chevron’s project in Western Australia. On Nov. 24, 2014, one of the compressors exploded and Chevron subsequently pulled the others out of service.

Involved fees earner: Geoffrey Bracken – Foley & Lardner LLP; Jill Hale – Foley & Lardner LLP; Stacy Obenhaus – Foley & Lardner LLP;

Law Firms: Foley & Lardner LLP;

Clients: Baker Hughes;