Ryan A. Pittman

Partner

Houston
T +1.713.646.1380
F +1.713.751.1717

Overview

Ryan Pittman is a trial lawyer who represents energy clients in a variety of oil and gas litigation matters, including oilfield accidents and other catastrophic events, royalty class actions, landowner issues, surface and subsurface damage and contamination, pipeline condemnation, easement and lease agreements, intellectual property and trade secrets and title disputes. As a former landman, Ryan shares valuable energy-industry experience and knowledge with clients. He has served as lead trial lawyer on numerous cases in both state and federal courts.

Ryan also represents clients in construction and real estate matters and provides counsel on transactional matters, including asset purchases and sales as well as mergers and acquisitions. 

Select Experience

Trial Practice

  • Obtained unanimous defense verdict in favor of operator in trial alleging gross negligence under a joint operating agreement relating to repair work performed on a well.

Oil and Gas

  • Defense of operators in royalty class action disputes alleging underpayment of royalties.

Pipeline/Eminent Domain

  • Representation of pipeline company in acquisition of easements and construction of two new natural gas liquids pipeline in southern Oklahoma, including OCC filings, negotiations of survey access and rights-of-way, title work and commencement and prosecution of condemnation actions.
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Experience

Trial Practice

  • Obtained unanimous defense verdict in favor of operator in trial alleging gross negligence under a joint operating agreement relating to repair work performed on a well.
  • Lead trial lawyer for public utility at condemnation trial to determine just compensation for multiple pipeline easements acquired through eminent domain proceedings.
  • Represented operator in jury trial of personal injury claims arising from a catastrophic oil field incident in North Dakota. The case was dismissed prior to reaching a verdict
  • Represented operator in jury trial on indemnity issues following a well fire and saltwater spill in North Dakota, receiving a verdict in favor of the client.
  • Obtained defense verdict as lead trial lawyer in Oklahoma County jury trial in suit involving a purchase and sale agreement related to mineral interests in North Dakota.
  • Lead trial lawyer in jury trial in Tulsa County relating to the financing and acquisition of a business, obtaining a plaintiffs’ verdict for nearly $1,000,000.
  • Lead trial lawyer in defense of an operator sued by overriding royalty owners for alleged failure to pay royalties under the Production Revenue Standards Act, receiving a directed verdict in favor of client at the close of plaintiffs’ case-in-chief.
  • Obtained defense verdict as lead trial lawyer in bench trial related to the purchase and sale of leasehold interests in Oklahoma.
  • Obtained defense verdict as lead trial lawyer in favor of general contractor in personal injury action.
  • Obtained plaintiffs’ verdict, including punitive damages, for landowners as lead trial lawyer in an action relating to damage to real property and destruction of timber.

Oil and Gas

  • Defense of operators in royalty class action disputes alleging underpayment of royalties.
  • Represent saltwater disposal operator in class action lawsuits alleging damages from earthquakes.
  • Representation of horizontal operators in defense of subsurface damage from hydraulic fracturing operations.
  • Representation of oil and gas operators in catastrophic injury claims arising from oilfield operations, including blow-outs, wild well control, explosions and fires, personal injury and wrongful death.
  • Represent operators and working interest owners in numerous quiet title and lease termination lawsuits.
  • Defense of remediation company in lawsuit alleging property damage from saltwater contamination.
  • Representation of major oilfield services company in lawsuit alleging theft of trade secrets and proprietary information related to automated drilling technology.
  • Represent service company with respect to OSHA investigation, citation and trial.

Pipeline/Eminent Domain

  • Representation of pipeline company in acquisition of easements and construction of two new natural gas liquids pipeline in southern Oklahoma, including OCC filings, negotiations of survey access and rights-of-way, title work and commencement and prosecution of condemnation actions.
  • Representation of pipeline company in acquisition of easements and construction of new, 110-mile natural gas liquids pipeline in central Oklahoma.
  • Representation of pipeline company in acquisition of easements and construction of 530-mile natural gas liquids pipeline in Oklahoma and Texas.
  • Representation of pipeline company in acquisition of easements, rights-of-way and routes of access for FERC-regulated natural gas pipelines.
  • Defense of pipeline in lawsuit alleging soil and groundwater contamination from release of fluids from pipeline.
  • Defend midstream company against allegations of discriminatory gathering charges.
  • Represent gathering companies in appeals of tax assessments on gathering systems.

Construction

  • Representation of general contractor in summary trial of case brought by subcontractor.
  • Defense of general contractors in personal injury lawsuits arising from job-site accidents.
  • Represent general contractors and subcontractors in OSHA investigations, appeals from citations and trials.
  • Represent developer in dispute over construction of apartment complex.

Appellate Practice

  • Defense of oil field services company in antitrust action, obtaining dismissal with prejudice which was affirmed on appeal. TKO Energy Services, LLC v. M-I L.L.C., 539 Fed. Appx. 866 (10th Cir. 2013).
  • Represent oil and gas operator in briefs and oral argument before Oklahoma Supreme Court sitting en banc in case involving Oklahoma’s Surface Damages Act. Hobson v. Cimarex Energy Co., No. SD-116721.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of oil and gas operator in well-site injury case filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota. Affirmed on appeal after briefing and oral argument. Ryan was lead trial lawyer, briefed on appeal and argued before the 8th Circuit panel. Vandewarker v. Continental Resources, Inc., 917 F.3d 626 (8th Cir. 2018).
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of refinery in action related to injuries stemming from refinery explosion and fire. Affirmed on appeal. Grice v. CVR Energy, Inc., __ F.3d __ (10th Cir. 2019).
  • Obtained dismissal of officers of publicly traded company in derivative action alleging violation of Securities Exchange Act. Dismissal was affirmed on appeal. Olagues v. Muncrief, ___ Fed. Appx. ___ (10th Cir. 2019).

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • The Best Lawyers in America®
    • Oklahoma: Energy Law (2019 to 2022)
  • Oklahoma Super Lawyers 
    • "Rising Star" (2015 to 2021)

Memberships

  • Oklahoma Bar Association
  • Tulsa County Bar Association
    • Energy and Mineral Law Section: Chair
  • Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma
  • Institute for Energy Law (IEL)
  • State Bar Association of North Dakota

Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Oklahoma
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Oklahoma
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Oklahoma
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
  • Oklahoma
  • North Dakota

Education

  • J.D., University of Tulsa College of Law, 2012; Order of the Curule Chair; Energy Law Journal
  • B.S., Oklahoma State University, 2009