Robert Vartabedian

Robert Vartabedian

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  • Thompson & Knight LLP
    777 Main Street, Suite 3300
    Fort Worth, TX 76102 USA
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Rob Vartabedian represents oil and gas companies in a wide range of litigation matters, including lease termination litigation, claims for breaches of implied covenants to an oil and gas lease, contract interpretation issues, royalty disputes, suits for breaches of joint operating agreements, and surface use disputes. In addition to his energy litigation expertise, Rob also handles commercial disputes in other industries. Rob has successfully tried more than a dozen cases to verdict and handled multiple successful appeals, including appeals for oil, gas, and energy clients, in Texas courts and the Fifth Circuit.


  • Represented BP as co-lead counsel at trial over claims for termination of a multi-million dollar oil and gas lease; obtained a finding that the lease in question produced in paying quantities after a two-week jury trial and ultimately obtaining a take-nothing judgment from the Texas Supreme Court in BP v. Red Deer, 526 S.W.3d 389 (Tex. 2017)
  • Successfully represented a Dallas-based oil company as lead counsel in a dispute over a high-value lease in Reeves County, Texas
  • Secured a favorable settlement as lead counsel for an Oklahoma-based operator sued based upon the allegation that a multi-million dollar lease terminated due to an improper invocation of the shut-in royalty clause
  • Lead counsel for a Fort Worth-based oil and gas company in a multi-section lease termination dispute in Loving County, Texas
  • Serving as lead counsel in numerous production in paying quantities/lease termination claims throughout the Permian Basin
  • Jointly represented a Colorado-based operator and a super-major as lead counsel in a suit claiming lease termination and breaches of the implied covenant to reasonably develop the lease; obtained a dismissal of the case without payment of any settlement
  • Lead counsel for an oil company CEO sued for $3.5 million; secured a dismissal of the case without payment of any settlement
  • Secured a favorable settlement for a Texas-based oil company as lead counsel in a suit over disputed ownership of valuable mineral acreage in the heart of the Midland Basin
  • Representing BP as lead counsel in the retrial of BP America v. Laddex, 513 S.W.3d 476 (Tex. 2017), following BP’s successful appeal to the Texas Supreme Court
  • Secured a favorable settlement as lead counsel for a Texas-based operator in a dispute with a contractor over a failed fracking attempt
  • Advised a Texas-based operator as lead counsel on an acquisition of leasehold in the Permian Basin for a price substantially lower than market value due to a looming potential title dispute; able to resolve all rival claims without the need for litigation, and the client sold the property a year later for a $40 million profit
  • Represented the successful appellant, Unit, in one of only two Texas cases where an appellate court has ruled on the rights, limitations, and meaning of a wellbore-only lease; Unit Petroleum v. David Pond, 439 S.W.3d 389 (Tex.App.—Amarillo 2014)
  • Secured a favorable settlement on behalf of plaintiff mineral owners for trespass and conversion claims against a major oil company
  • Negotiated a favorable settlement on behalf of an oil and gas company for the full amount of damages alleged in the original petition for breach of a joint operating agreement
  • Following a two-week jury trial, won a defense verdict on behalf of the largest working interest owner in an oil and gas lease on a lease termination claim

Prior Experience

  • Judicial Clerk for the Honorable Timothy Buckley, Fifth District Court of Appeal for the State of California, 2003


  • The Best Lawyers in America® by Woodward/White Inc. (Oil and Gas Law); 2019
  • “Recommended Attorney,” The Legal 500 US by Legalese (Industry Focus: Energy Litigation - Oil and Gas, Dispute resolution - General commercial disputes); 2016-2018
  • "Under 40 Hot List," Benchmark: Litigation, The Definitive Guide to America's Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys; 2016-2018

  • Texas Rising Stars® by Thomson Reuters (Business Litigation); 2011-2019

  • “Top Attorneys” (Oil & Gas, Civil Law-Litigation) by Fort Worth, Texas magazine; 2015-2018

Activities (Memberships/Affiliations)

  • Board of Directors, Opportunity School, 2008-2015; President, 2011
  • Member, Lone Star Runners Club, 2012-present
  • Board of Directors, American Heart Association, Amarillo Chapter, 2006-2008