GTP CLASSIC: Chrysta Castañeda | Mesa Petroleum Partners LP v. Baytech LLP, J. Cleo Thompson and James Cleo Thompson, Jr., LP, and Delaware Basin Resources LLC | $146 million verdict


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This week we're replaying a classic episode where your hosts Steve Lowry and Yvonne Godfrey interview Chrysta Castañeda of The Castañeda Firm (

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Episode Details:

Accomplished Dallas oil and gas litigator Chrysta Castañeda of The Castañeda Firm discusses how she secured justice for oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens, the owner of Mesa Petroleum Partners, in a landmark breach of contract case against three Texas oil companies, securing the nation's 12th largest verdict in 2016. In January 2007, Mesa Petroleum Partners signed a participation agreement with J. Cleo Thompson and Baytech, affording Mesa 15% ownership in oil wells and other assets in Texas over a five-year period. Mesa Petroleum elected to participate in all offered deals, but unbeknownst to Pickens, Mesa Petroleum's 15% interest was being used to purchase assets and to drill more than 160 wells under the auspices of two newly formed companies: Patriot Resources and Delaware Basin Resources. In 2009, Delaware Basin Resources attempted to buy out Mesa Petroleum from the original agreement and recruited Baytech to initiate an offer that Mesa Petroleum ultimately rejected. Despite the defense's claims that Pickens stated in a phone call that he wanted out of the agreement, except for his initial investment in a Lyda Well, and assertions that Pickens did not pay his fair share and was looking to repair his reputation after making poor business decisions during the 2008-2009 financial crisis, Chrysta Castañeda secured justice for her client. In November 2016, after a five-week trial, a Reeves County, Texas jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, awarding more than $140 million in damages plus legal fees. This groundbreaking case is also featured in the book The Last Trial of T. Boone Pickens, written by Chrysta Castañeda and Loren Steffy.

Read/Download the Complete Trial Documents

Guest Bio:

Chrysta Castañeda

Chrysta Castañeda is a go-to lawyer for high-stakes litigation in the energy industry and beyond. Practicing for over twenty-five years, she has built a solid reputation for adeptly handling technical litigation, often serving as lead trial counsel in high-profile disputes of media interest. Her win for T. Boone Pickens’ Mesa Petroleum Partners was recognized as the 12th largest verdict in 2016 in the nation by The National Law Journal and earned her a spot as one of the NLJ’s Elite Trial Lawyers of 2018, as well as induction into Texas Lawyer‘s Texas Verdicts Hall of Fame. Following this series of high-profile recognitions, Chrysta was inducted as a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation in the beginning of 2020.

Chrysta developed her reputation and commitment to excellence from practicing for more than two decades at top firms worldwide. Since founding the Castañeda Firm, Chrysta has prioritized delivering the quality of representation found in large law firms in a personalized way. Chrysta and her team strive to out-prepare the opposition, from investigation through trial.

Chrysta not only has more than two decades of experience litigating energy and oil and gas matters but also holds a degree in engineering. Her technical training in combination with her experience in crisis communications frequently proves invaluable to clients, enabling her to effectively explain complex scientific concepts to judges and juries.

Clients value Chrysta’s strength and tenacity. As Chrysta puts it, “We take pride in having both the knowledge and experience clients require, as well as the necessary tenacity and creativity to craft winning strategies. We aim to prepare so thoroughly that we can adapt without hesitation to changing dynamics at trial or in discovery. I want our clients to feel confident and assured when The Castañeda Firm is on their case.”

Outside of the oil and gas and energy industries, Chrysta has extensive experience in commercial litigation, trade secrets, products liability, pharmaceutical, medical device, and toxic tort litigation.

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Book Link:

The Last Trial of T. Boone Pickens

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Free Resources:

Stages Of A Jury Trial - Part 1

Stages Of A Jury Trial - Part 2