Halliburton Denied Texas Venue In $300M Fracking Secrets Suit by Beth Winegarner, March 25, 2013, Law360
Halliburton Energy Services Inc. will face arbitration hearings in Florida —rather than in Texas, as Halliburton demanded — on Ecosphere Technologies Inc.’s $300 million claims that the oil field giant stole fracking-liquid trade secrets despite a nondisclosure agreement, the American Arbitration Association ruled Friday. Halliburton petitioned the American Arbitration Association for a change of venue to Houston, which is close to its corporate headquarters, according to the company’s website. But the association’s Friday ruling favored Ecosphere’s mandate that the hearings go forward in Miami…. [Emphasis added]
Halliburton heads to Florida venue in $300M trade secrets case by Deon Daugherty, March 26, 2013, bizjournal
In January 2009, the two companies entered into a joint confidentiality agreement that prevented Halliburton from disclosing Ecosphere’s proprietary information. Halliburton offered to purchase Ecosphere, but negotiations broke down, according to a statement from Leopold Law, the Florida law firm representing Ecosphere. “Ecosphere alleges Halliburton wrongfully used Ecosphere’s trade secrets to immediately market itself as an environmentally friendly company, form a venture known as Blu Energy Solutions to ‘provide well-site recycling technologies and holistic water management solutions to the oil and gas industry with the goal of reducing disposal costs and minimizing waste volumes’ and acquire trademarks and patents,” according to the statement. A spokeswoman for Halliburton said the allegations are unfounded and without merit. “We will vigorously defend our interests in the appropriate forum,” Susie McMichael said in an email. Both companies have until April 8 to agree on three arbitrators or the arbitrators will be appointed.