(Reuters) – Two U.S. energy companies, Bridgeland and Zargon, said in a new lawsuit that their former law firm Winston & Strawn botched their planned purchase of oil and gas wells in 2021, costing them millions of dollars in damages.
Lawyers from Chicago-based Winston & Strawn allegedly inserted “critical drafting errors” in contracts that plaintiffs Bridgeland Resources and Zargon Acquisition signed with a well operator as part of their plan to acquire about 325 wells in Southern California, according to the lawsuit filed Friday in Harris County, Texas, District Court.
A spokesperson for Winston & Strawn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Lawyers for Bridgeland and Zargon, Philip Werner and David Ayers of Werner Ayers, also could not immediately be reached.
The lawsuit said Winston’s negligence led to litigation among the parties to the deal and a confidential settlement, costing Bridgeland and Zargon “tens of millions of dollars, with the fallout still being felt to this day.” The plaintiffs are asking for “no more than $175 million” in damages and to recover fees they paid to Winston.
According to the lawsuit, Michael Blankenship, the leader of Winston’s Houston office, assigned then-Winston associate Christopher Cottrell, to work on the deal.
Cottrell made mistakes in drafting the contracts hours before the deal was supposed to close, the lawsuit alleged. Blankenship, meanwhile, allegedly did not communicate with the plaintiffs in the deal’s final 72 hours, when “crucial (and totally) erroneous decisions” were made.
Blankenship and Cottrell did not respond to requests for comment. Cottrell left Winston in March and is now a shareholder in Polsinelli’s Houston office, according to his LinkedIn profile.
The case is Bridgeland Resources v. Winston & Strawn, District Court of Harris County, Texas, No. 2023-77047.
For Bridgeland Resources and Zargon Acquisition: Philip Werner and David Ayers of Werner Ayers
For Winston & Strawn: Not yet available