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Larry Hepler and Beth Bauer defeat Plaintiffs’ motion to alter or amend the judgment in a multi-million dollar claim

In late 2010, Larry Hepler, Beth Bauer, Andrew Speciale, and Tara Kuchar, won a defense verdict on all counts for Southcap Pipeline Company in a case filed by Valero Marketing and Supply Company and The Premcor Refining Group, Inc. in the Southern District of Illinois. The Plaintiffs alleged that the Defendant failed to return over 400,000 barrels of crude oil to the Plaintiffs in violation of the Interstate Commerce Act. Further, the Plaintiffs contended Southcap violated its own tariff. Plaintiffs sought the value of the barrels of oil, which under various calculations was multiple millions of dollars, or a declaratory judgment that Southcap provide over 400,000 barrels of crude oil to the Plaintiffs. The trial team established that the Plaintiffs failed to show they were entitled to any of the 400,000 barrels of crude oil or their equivalent monetary value. The Honorable Donald G. Wilkerson decided the case and found Plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that they were entitled to any of the claimed barrels of oil.

Recently, the trial court denied Plaintiffs' motion to alter or amend the judgment to award them the alleged barrels based on their claim that Southcap violated the ICA by unfairly discriminating against Plaintiffs in allocating the entire purported loss to Plaintiffs. Alternatively, Plaintiffs sought a partial award of approximately 110,000 barrels on another theory. Beth Bauer and Larry Hepler submitted briefing on both points, arguing that Plaintiffs neither preserved these arguments at trial nor had they presented any new evidence to show they were entitled to any additional barrels for any reason. In denying the Plaintiffs' motion, the trial court reiterated its findings that Plaintiffs failed to demonstrate they were entitled to any additional barrels, regardless of the theory.