A federal judge in Houston has granted summary judgment to a Texas company that claims it is owed more than $5.6 million by two subsidiaries of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, in granting summary judgment in favor of plaintiff Impact Fluid Solutions, rejected arguments by lawyers for Bariven S.A. and PDVSA Services B.V. that they could not properly defend their clients because political turmoil in Venezuela has made it impossible for them to obtain the necessary records and witnesses.
The judge, while saying he was sympathetic to the defendants’ difficulties, said he could not tether Impact Fluid Solutions’ claims “to the resolution of an international crisis that even defendants’ counsel admits has no end in sight.”
Impact Fluid Solutions was represented by Baker Botts partner Russell Lewis and associates Nick Brown and Laura Shoemaker McGonagill, all in Houston.
The Venezuelan subsidiaries were represented by Aaron Crane and Bruce Oakley, partners in the Houston office of Hogan Lovells. They did not respond to a request Wednesday for comment.
Hanen’s order, issued Tuesday, noted that the Venezuelan oil company’s subsidiaries do not contest that the debt is owed to the Texas company for drilling fluids delivered in 2015. It would be unfair, the judge wrote, to further delay payment because of political instability in another country that is no fault of Impact Fluid Solutions.
He awarded the company the full damages it sought, more than $5.6 million, plus pre- and post-judgment interest.