Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Reverses District Court in Favor of Linn Energy


Jackson Walker secured an appellate victory in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of Linn Energy, LLC (Linn), an oil and gas company operating in Texas and Oklahoma. On June 19, 2019, the Fifth Circuit reversed the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas and reinstated the bankruptcy court’s dismissal of a post-confirmation attempt by the State of Oklahoma to obtain nearly $1 million in alleged unclaimed royalty payments held by Linn.

In a 10-page opinion, the Fifth Circuit held that because the appellee sat on its rights during the entire Chapter 11 process, res judicata bars its claim. The court also agreed that the appellee should be held to the terms of the confirmed plan that it did not object to, and otherwise took no action prior to, filing its post-confirmation lawsuit to recover the subject unclaimed property from Linn.

The Fifth Circuit stressed that Linn was correct that “the bankruptcy court’s approval of the Plan and the ensuing confirmation order constitute a final judgment that may not be collaterally attacked.”

The team that represented Linn was led by former Jackson Walker attorney Patricia B. Tomasco along with Jackson Walker Austin partner Jennifer F. Wertz and Houston associate Cameron A. Secord, with significant assistance from Sean D. Jordan, Bruce J. Ruzinsky, Lionel M. Schooler, Kathrine M. Silver, Danica L. Milios, and Kristhy M. Peguero.

To explore Jackson Walker’s experience in handling the various issues that accompany energy bankruptcy proceedings, visit the Bankruptcy, Restructuring, & Recovery and Trial & Appellate Litigation practice pages.

Meet Jennifer

Jennifer F. Wertz represents financial institutions, equipment lenders, healthcare service providers, agricultural lenders, and other creditors in bankruptcy proceedings , including pursuing claims, negotiating treatment of claims by the debtor, and successfully preventing confirmation of a bankruptcy plan. In addition to her experience representing creditors in bankruptcy proceedings, Jennifer also represents entities in complex corporate reorganization and fiduciary litigation, with a focus on workouts and reorganization.

Meet Cameron

Cameron A. Secord advocates for his clients in state, federal, bankruptcy and appellate courts on issues ranging from CERCLA liability to state regulatory authority to commercial litigation. While in law school, Cameron worked as a Judicial Intern for the Honorable Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod of the 5th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals and the Honorable Judge Marvin Isgur of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas.