Following a five-week bench trial conducted entirely on Zoom, on October 15, 2020, the 80th Judicial District Court of Harris County, Judge Larry Weiman presiding, found that Defendant Targa Channelview LLC, a subsidiary of Targa Resources Co., breached its agreement with Plaintiff Vitol Americas Corp. by failing to return $129 million in prepayments.
On December 27, 2015, Vitol and Targa entered into an agreement for the processing of crude and condensate into splitter products. In connection with that Agreement, Vitol made annual prepayments which would be drawn down once Targa began providing splitter products from its facility. Targa failed to bring its splitter facility online by the Agreement’s deadline. Vitol exercised its right to terminate the Agreement and requested return of the roughly $129 million in prepayments it had deposited with Targa. After Targa refused to return Vitol’s prepayments, Vitol filed suit.
The case was originally scheduled for trial in April 2020, but was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic until September. Over the objection of the defendant, including an emergency mandamus petition and several motions seeking a continuance, all of which SKV defeated, the parties proceeded to trial in September remotely via Zoom. SKV attorneys Lee Kaplan, Land Murphy, Eugene Zilberman and John Mondel worked seamlessly with their graphics consultants to present Vitol’s case using SKV’s state of the art conference facilities. SKV presented hundreds of exhibits and examined 18 live witnesses, in addition to several depositions. Using the latest technology, SKV was able to tell Vitol’s story over the five-week trial. Vitol and its counsel are grateful the Court confirmed the terms of the Agreement and ordered Targa to refund Vitol’s prepayments.
Prejudgment interest is anticipated to be approximately $18M.