J. Clayton (“Clay”) Johnson is Of Counsel in the law firm of Taylor, Porter, Brooks & Phillips, L.L.P., in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he has practiced law since graduation from law school in 1969. Mr. Johnson had previously received a B.S. degree in Geology in 1965.
Mr. Johnson’s law practice has been concentrated in the area of oil and gas, more specifically:
- Bringing and defending lawsuits in state and federal courts involving royalty and working interest due on production (including take-or-pay), the determination of ownership of property, and the interpretation of various oil and gas agreements, including leases, joint operating agreements, balancing agreements, unit agreements and gas purchase agreements, with a number of the lawsuits having been discussed in various law reviews and energy related publications
- Bringing and defending lawsuits arising out of rig accidents, fires, and blowouts on behalf of Amoco Production Company, other oil companies, and numerous landowners
- Conservation practice before administrative agencies, including review and appeal of Conservation Orders, on behalf of major and independent oil companies and major landowners
- Experience in acting as local counsel for out-of-state law firms and domestic and foreign banking institutions in litigation; bankruptcy proceedings; contract matters; the formation of business entities; and the purchase, sale, and financing of oil and gas properties located onshore and offshore
- Experience in drafting and negotiation of all types of oil and gas related contracts, including leases, seismic options and rights-of-way; drilling contracts; operating agreements; joint venture; exploration and participation agreements; and acquisitions, sales, mortgage and financing instruments related to both inshore and offshore transactions
- Bringing and defending lawsuits involving oil and gas environmental matters in the state and federal courts of Louisiana
- Successfully prosecuted review and appeal of Order of Commissioner of Conservation, which established law in Louisiana as to duty of unit operator to account for production to non- operators. See Amoco Production Company v. Herbert W Thompson, Commissioner of Conservation, 516 So. 2d 376 (La. App. 1 Cir. 1987); writ denied, 520 So. 2d 118 (La. 1988)
- Successfully defended Ennex, Inc., in lawsuit which established Louisiana law on validity of declared units formed under the provisions of mineral leases. The unit was filed after a successful discovery well with substantial royalties at stake. See Gorenflo v. Ennex, Inc., 735 F.2d 835 (5th Cir. 1984)
- Successfully defended Amoco Production Company in lawsuit which established validity of cover-all clause in mineral leases
- Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., a Division of Tenneco Inc. vs. Conoco Inc. et al. No. 402- 076, 19th JDC, East Baton Rouge Parish, LA. As trial counsel for Tenneco, the firm prosecuted a large damage claim for breach of contract against the owners of a gas processing plant at Grand Chenier, La. The owners included most of the major oil companies (Conoco, Arco, Texaco, Trident, Mobil, Shell, Chevron, Exxon, and others). After extensive discovery, a settlement was mediated with all owners except Arco. A settlement was reached with Arco after the first witness testified
- Louisiana Intrastate Gas Co. vs. Martin Intrastate Gas Co., 623 So.2d 664 (La. App. First Cir. 1993), writ denied, 629 So.2d 390 (La. 1993). The firm participated in the successful defense of a claim seeking interpretation of a contract to allow the right to market unlimited quantities of gas at highly favorable prices.
- On behalf of Tenneco, the firm prosecuted an intervention by an affiliated corporation as a defense strategy and was substantially involved in the preparation, trial, and appeal.
- Successfully defended Amoco Production Company in bitterly contested five-week trial, affirmed on appeal, involving non-operator’s participation in farm-out agreement under terms of joint operating agreement, saving client millions of dollars. See Martin Exploration Company vs. Amoco Production Company, 637 So. 2d 1202 (La. App. 1 Cir. 1994), writ denied, 644 So. 2d 1048 (La. 1994)
- Has served as legal team member in defense of “legacy lawsuits” for Dow Chemical, CenterPoint, Cavenham Forest Products, and other operators and owners in North and South Louisiana
- Has served for many years as the special mineral counsel to Baton Rouge/East Baton Rouge Parish and to Louisiana State University
- Bringing and defending lawsuits involving a determination of the boundary line between East Baton Rouge Parish and West Baton Rouge Parish, a determination of ownership based on the navigability of water bodies and a determination of boundary lines between properties
- Mineral title opinions on behalf of Amoco Production Company, Hunt Petroleum Corporation, Ennex, Inc., and Chesapeake Energy Corporation, among others
Mr. Johnson has lectured and published in oil and gas related subjects:
- Author: “Maintenance of Mineral Interests in Louisiana,” 26th Institute on Mineral Law, 1979; “The Top Lease - No Longer a Stranger in the Lease Block,” 34th Institute on Oil and Gas Law and Taxation, 1983; “Liability for Blow-outs and Similar Accidents,” 32nd Institute on Mineral Law, 1985.
- Presenter: Oil and Gas Law for a New Century: Precedent as Prologue, The Southwestern Legal Foundation, 1997.
Mr. Johnson was a member of the Board of Editors, Oil and Gas Reporter, International Oil and Gas Education Center, from 1987 through 2005, and, as a member of the Board of Editors, was a recipient of the John Rogers Award. Mr. Johnson has been a member of the Mineral Code Committee of the Louisiana State Law Institute since 1992 and is an Emeritus Member in the American Inns of Court. Mr. Johnson has been the Chairman of the Advisory Committee, Middle District of Louisiana, Civil Justice Reform Act; a Hearing Committee Member, Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board; and Chairman of the Mineral Law Section, Louisiana State Bar Association, where he was also a member of the House of Delegates for 14 years.
Mr. Johnson has been President of the Baton Rouge Chapter of the American Cancer Society and was a former Chairman of the Board of the Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross. Mr. Johnson has served as president of the Evlyn J. Daniel Educational Foundation and as president of the City Club of Baton Rouge. Mr. Johnson has served as/on Pastoral Lay Leader, Council on Ministries, Executive Committee, and Administrative Board at the First United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge, where he has been a Sunday School teacher for over 20 years. Mr. Johnson has also been a board member of the Wesley Foundation, United Methodist Campus Ministry at Louisiana State University, and a board member of Grace Camp, a summer camp for children of incarcerated persons. Mr. Johnson was selected as a 2012 Volunteer Activist by the Baton Rouge Speech and Hearing Foundation. He has been selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers.