J. Clifton Hall III

Clients describe Clif as having “gravitas” and “great instincts.” His first exposure to the energy sector was working offshore as a cook during college and law school where he learned the art of gumbo, maque choux, red beans and jambalaya. He has a formidable reputation in the energy-focused insurance industry for good reason. Instrumental in the evolution of key energy wordings and on the front line in cases of first impression, he has helped map the boundaries of energy coverage. His peers describe him as one of “the most knowledgeable energy insurance lawyers in the world.”

Well known for his charismatic style and pragmatic approach to complex and uncommon issues, Clif often gets the first call when thorny business problems arise. After 33 years of representing insurers interests in a variety of settings, clients praise his ability to quickly discern the critical issue in each dispute, understand it in context and craft imaginative solutions tailored to the specific problem presented. But what best exemplifies his success is an ability to develop forward-looking strategy and forecast trends, which is why even veterans in the industry trust his advice at face value. Clients have even called him the dean of U.S. energy lawyers.

While an undeniable authority on energy insurance and industry-shaping matters, Clif excels in managing the most complex, technically difficult and contentious claims. He shines in the courtroom where he can explain complex, technical concepts to laymen and succinctly describe to a court how a policy provision that scales recoverable limits to working interest not only applies in the real world, but complements oil and gas contractual indemnities. In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Clif was retained by the London Market and domestic insurers to coordinate the legal response to billions of dollars of losses in the Gulf of Mexico. His exhaustive preparation, assertive style, and smart strategies make him an imposing opponent at trial. He has been successful in numerous subrogation actions involving the most difficult, high-dollar disputes. Clif can also be found working with domestic insurers and advising clients on new projects, risks and policy wordings.

Besides all that, Clif stands out because of his down-to-earth personality. He is still working to perfect his roux and stock recipes and enjoys discussing the intricacies of New Orleans music and all things sporting.

Experience
  • Lead trial counsel in five-week jury trial involving coverage for an offshore loss arising out of hurricane damage to oil field facilities. Issues included allocation of insurance coverage between COW and pollution policies.
  • Representation through district and appellate courts of Energy Package insurers in coverage litigation arising out of Macondo well blowout in Gulf of Mexico. Issues included application of various aspects of the Joint Venture Provision.
  • Representation of well owner/operator and its insurers in recovery action for $25 million in losses arising out of inadvertent firing of perforation gun during completion operations in an offshore well in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Represent Energy Package insurers in coverage dispute in Texas trial and appellate court arising out of Hurricane Ike. Issues involved scope of PD and COW coverage where limits were inadequate to cover loss sustained.
  • Represent various Energy Package insurers in non-litigious resolution of over $1 billion in claims resulting from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Handled claims of numerous assureds for PD and COW losses testing the boundaries of OEE/EED wordings.
  • After successful cross-examination at trial of plaintiff’s key witnesses, favorably resolved $250 million coverage dispute in Louisiana state court coverage action arising out of losses due to toppled offshore platform during Hurricane Rita. Coverage issues included the EED/OEE, Removal of Debris and Making Wells Safe provisions within the energy package policy.
  • Lead trial counsel in coverage dispute regarding significant losses ($50 million) to offshore oil facilities and coverage for properties acquired after policy inception. Resolved after trial.
  • Successful trial in Texas state court of a $40 million construction risk coverage dispute arising out of a loss at a cogeneration facility in the Dominican Republic.
  • Litigated to nominal settlement a $28 million coverage dispute in Texas state court arising out of political risk/contract frustration coverage for an oil field venture in Myanmar.
Education
  • Louisiana State University Paul Hebert School of Law, J.D., 1982
  • Drake University, B.A. Philosophy and English, 1978 (Outstanding Philosophy Student, Dean’s List)
  • Woodbury Forest School, Orange, Virginia
Admissions
  • Texas
  • Louisiana
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Middle District of Louisiana
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma
Awards/Rankings
  • Chambers USA, Insurance, 2010-present
  • AV Preeminent Rating, Martindale-Hubbell, 2000-present
Memberships
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit
  • American Bar Association
  • Texas Bar Association
  • Louisiana Bar Association
  • Houston Bar Association
  • Life Fellow, Texas Law Foundation
  • Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board
  • Louisiana Association for Justice
  • The Maritime Law Association
Speaking Engagements
  • Energy Claims Panel – Loss of Production Income in the Wake of Hurricane Ivan, Houston Marine Insurance Seminar, 2005 (panel speaker)
  • So Your Platform Disappeared in the Hurricane, UT CLE 17th Annual Admiralty and Maritime Conference, 2008 (panel moderator)
  • Changing Roles in the Claims Process, Role of the Energy Claims Attorney: Litigation at All Costs?, Lillehammer Energy Claim Conference, 2008 (panel speaker)
  • Offshore Energy Coverages, Tulane Admiralty Institute, 2009
  • Settlement, Mediation, and Arbitration: Using Alternative Dispute Resolution to Avoid Costly and Damaging Litigation, American Conference Institute’s National Forum on Defending and Managing Admiralty & Maritime Litigation, 2012 (panel speaker)
  • Offshore Industry in the 21st Century: Practice, Procedure and Liability, The Maritime Law Association of the United States and the Iberoamerican Institute of Maritime Law, Fall Meeting of the MLA and 18th Congress of the IIDM, Continuing Legal Education and Academic Program, 2013 (panel speaker)
Publications
  • Offshore Energy Insurance, 83 Tulane Law Review 1304 (2009)