A Texas jury awarded Houston-based Smith Energy Co. $8.5 million on Monday, finding that a former employee committed fraud and theft in connection with oil and gas leases in several counties in West Texas.
A Judicial District Court jury in Terry County ruled that Mark P. Hardwick, hired by Smith Energy to conduct “landman” services for the company, breached his fiduciary duty and committed fraud and theft by charging the company for work not done, double-billing for services and improperly obtaining leases he was not authorized to obtain.
A story by Law 360 quotes Rusty Hardin & Associates partner Ryan Higgins saying “We are obviously happy with the jury verdict and the judgment entered by the trial court judge. There is a finding of breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and civil theft as well as other findings that are important to Smith Energy now and going forward.”.
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