James P. Tuite

James P. Tuite’s practice focuses on complex commercial and regulatory litigation, with a special emphasis on issues affecting the energy industry.

Practice & Background

Mr. Tuite has represented energy, natural resource, and transportation companies, Indian tribes, and other entities in federal court trials and before federal and state agencies. He has served as lead counsel a wide range of substantive areas, including antitrust, APA review of agency action, breach of contract, business torts, constitutional law, consumer class actions, federal preemption, energy and transportation regulation, royalties and natural resource valuation, the False Claims Act, Indian gaming, tribal trust management, patents, trade secrets, and federal and state taxation. Many of Mr. Tuite’s cases have had substantial economic issues at their core; as a result, he has worked with some of the nation’s foremost economists in the development and presentation of expert testimony. Mr. Tuite is also an experienced appellate advocate, having argued more than a dozen cases before the U.S. courts of appeals and prepared numerous briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mr. Tuite has handled many cases for energy companies. He has extensive experience with the types of legal issues that arise in connection with the exploration, production, refining, transportation, distribution and marketing of crude oil and refined petroleum products and with the production and transportation of natural gas.
Representative Matters

Mr. Tuite’s representative matters include:

defense of a large regional marketer of petroleum products in a suit alleging violation of the New Jersey Franchise Practices Act for failing to provide franchisees with rights of first refusal to acquire stations transferred from one subsidiary to another in a corporate restructuring; court denied plaintiffs’ claims on summary judgment
ongoing defense of parent corporation against breach of contract and other causes of action based on alleged misrepresentation of the financial condition of a wholly owned subsidiary sold to a third party
defense of a large foreign oil company in a nationwide antitrust class action MDL brought by direct purchasers of refined petroleum products alleging collusion with companies owned by or affiliated with members of OPEC; district court granted motion to dismiss, 5thCircuit affirmed, and Supreme Court denied certiorari
representation of plaintiff Indian tribe in suit against the United States for failure to collect full royalties due on oil and gas production on reservation lands and for other breaches of trust responsibilities; achieved a series of favorable rulings in successive trials, resulting in a $380 million settlement payment to the tribe
defense of a large regional marketer of petroleum products against claims under the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act and for breach of contract/fiduciary duty; court denied plaintiff’s claims on summary judgment
defense of a large refiner and marketer in a massive consumer class action MDL, brought against virtually the entire domestic refining and marketing industry, claiming that the failure to adjust price or volume when selling retail motor fuel warmer than the alleged industry standard of 60°F is a deceptive practice in violation of state consumer protection statutes; served as a member of joint defense group steering committee; asked by steering committee to argue motion to dismiss on behalf of all industry defendants; client ultimately achieved settlement on favorable terms
defense of a large international holding company in a federal court action in which plaintiff sought more than $1 billion based on claims of breach of contract and fiduciary duty, promissory estoppel and misappropriation of trade secrets; court denied plaintiff’s claims on summary judgment
defense of a major international oil company against Sherman Act claims alleging monopolization and attempted monopolization of the market for purchasing and transporting Alaska North Slope natural gas and against Clayton Act claims challenging the lawfulness of a series of oil company mergers; district court granted motion to dismiss
representation of one of the largest domestic refiners of petroleum products in price manipulation investigations by the Federal Trade Commission and by state attorneys general; defended deposition of company’s CEO in California investigation
successfully petitioned, on behalf of four major refiners, the Federal Trade Commission to bring an antitrust action challenging patent holder’s manipulation of standard-setting process to gain monopoly power over the California reformulated gasoline market; represented the four refiners in resulting trial, which culminated in a consent decree prohibiting enforcement of the relevant patents
defense of an affiliate of a major integrated oil company in a federal court action by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico alleging that the island’s three largest gasoline marketers had overcharged consumers by hundreds of millions of dollars; after trial, district court issued judgment rejecting all claims, and 1st Circuit affirmed
defense of a major North Slope oil producer in refund suit brought by the State of Alaska seeking approximately $1 billion in alleged underpayments of production and severance taxes; had primary responsibility at trial for a $325 million issue and obtained a judgment of no liability
conducted an internal investigation of accounting, billing, and credit irregularities by officers and employees of a large distribution company; interviewed numerous employees and executives and reported findings to board members.

Community Involvement

Mr. Tuite serves on the Executive Committee of the Council for Court Excellence, a nonprofit civic organization that works to improve the administration of justice in the local and federal courts in Washington, D.C.
Speaking Engagements

“FTC’s Antitrust Challenge to Unocal’s Reformulated Gasoline Patents” at the annual ABA Petroleum Marketing Attorneys meeting, March 2005.

Good to know

Areas of Practice 1) Antitrust and Unfair Competition, 2) Class Actions, 3) Complex Commercial Litigation, 4) Energy Litigation, 5) Unfair Competition and Consumer Protection, 6) Litigation for Indian Tribes, 7) Oil and Gas, 8) Transportation and 9) North America
Law School University of Texas School of Law, J.D., 1973
Education Duke University, A.B.,1970
Bar Member / Association District of Columbia Bar Association, Texas State Bar Association
Most recent firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP
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