Robert Vartabedian

Robert Vartabedian

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  • Thompson & Knight LLP
    801 Cherry Street, Unit #1
    Burnett Plaza, Suite 1600
    Fort Worth, TX 76102-6881 USA
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Rob Vartabedian represents oil, gas, and energy companies in a wide range of litigation matters including, lease termination litigation, other trespass to try title claims, 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 and employment disputes in other industries. Rob has successfully tried over 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.


Oil and Gas

  • Represented BP in the trial and subsequent appeal of 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; BP v. Red Deer, 2017 WL 1553112 (Tex. 2017)
  • Secured a favorable settlement 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
  • Representing Texas-based operator as lead counsel in multiple production in paying quantities/lease termination claims in the both the Midland Basin and Delaware Basin
  • Jointly represented a Colorado-based operator and a supermajor 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
  • 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 Permian Basin
  • Secured a favorable settlement 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 cases in the history of Texas where an appeal 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 and prevailed on a counterclaim for tortious interference

Employment Litigation

  • Defeated class certification and won a complete defense verdict at trial as to remaining individual claims in a wage and hour class action suit brought against an energy company
  • Tried five employment discrimination cases to juries over the course of five years for a United States government contractor and received a unanimous defense verdict from the jury each time
  • Tried Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime claims asserted by 30 plaintiffs and prevailed on the vast majority of claims, then successfully sought reversal of findings initially made in favor of a handful of plaintiffs in an appeal to the Fifth Circuit; Stokes et al. v. BWXT, 424 Fed.Appx. 324 (5th Cir. 2011)

Prior Experience

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


  • “Recommended Attorney,” The Legal 500 US by Legalese (Industry Focus: Energy Litigation - Oil and Gas); 2016-2017
  • "Under 40 Hot List," Benchmark: Litigation, The Definitive Guide to America's Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys; 2016-2017

  • Texas Rising Stars® by Thomson Reuters (Business Litigation); 2011-2017

  • “Top Attorneys” (Oil & Gas, Civil Law-Litigation) by Fort Worth, Texas magazine; 2015-2017

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