San Diego – April 28, 2015 – Litigation partner Steve Strauss was selected as an inaugural 2015 Energy and Environmental "Trailblazer" by The National Law Journal. According to the publication, the list "pays tribute to some of the great minds impacting the crucial intersection of energy production and the environment."
The NLJ highlighted Strauss's representation of Santa Fe Pacific Pipelines (SFPP), a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, in an appellate trial against Union Pacific Railroad Co. The Second District Court of Appeals reversed a $100 million judgment from a lower court, holding that Union Pacific may not charge SFPP rent for easements underlying right-of-way acquired by Acts of Congress established centuries prior, and that Union Pacific has the burden to prove sufficient title to charge SFPP rent.
Strauss told the NLJ, "They don't have the ability to charge rent for underground pipelines because it's not their property." The Court of Appeals and, later, the California Supreme Court, agreed.
The NLJ highlighted the significance of this ruling for the railroad industry and other industries that have easements in railroad rights of way. Strauss predicted future battles over pipelines, stating: "If you don't increase the pipelines, you have to ship by rail and build terminals. That creates risks and cost that may exceed those of pipelines."
Strauss, who has obtained trial verdicts and settlements in excess of $8 billion throughout his career, has a versatile practice that encompasses business, intellectual property and real estate litigation matters including the representation of business entities, corporate officers and directors, owners, developers, investors, and high net worth individuals. He specializes in complex business litigation, including intellectual property, real estate, partnership and hospitality disputes, and he was most recently named a "Top IP" lawyer by the Daily Journal.
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