Image: Kathryn Gonski
Kathryn
Kathryn Gonski
Shareholder, New Orleans
One Shell Square
701 Poydras Street
Suite 5000
New Orleans, Louisiana 70139

Overview

Kathryn Gonski is a litigator whose appellate practice regularly includes cases before the Louisiana courts of appeal, the Louisiana Supreme Court, and the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal.  Her practice focuses on complex litigation, including environmental, energy, employment, and oil and gas matters.  Based on her experience, Kathryn is also frequently retained to write amicus briefs on behalf of businesses and trade organizations in matters of industry-wide significance. 

Experience

Significant representation in appellate, business, and energy matters by Kathryn include:

  • Represented Hess Corporation in the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and obtained a unanimous opinion affirming the application of Louisiana’s subsequent purchaser doctrine to bar a plaintiff’s claims against Hess for pre-purchase property damage.  Guilbeau v. Hess Corp., 854 F.3d 310 (5th Cir. 2017). 

  • Assisted trial team in securing: (i) a $1.16 million judgment in favor of Red Willow Offshore, LLC and Medco Energi US, LLC, finding that a processing facility operator breached its Production Processing Agreement by failing to properly compensate Red Willow and Medco for its unauthorized diversion of their processed gas for use as lift gas in its own wells; and (ii) a unanimous opinion from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal affirming the judgment. Red Willow Offshore, LLC v. Palm Energy Offshore LLC, 2015-0512 (La. App. 4 Cir. 2/3/16), 185 So. 3d 293.

  • Retained as appellate counsel by Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and Louisiana Midcontinent Oil & Gas Association to submit amicus brief to the Louisiana Supreme Court. In this case in which the Supreme Court addressed the proper application of the manifest error standard of appellate review, the Court agreed with the position of the amici and reversed a decision of the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal, reinstating the district court judgment for defendant-operators which rejected a claim for lost hydrocarbons due to alleged imprudent operations. Hayes Fund for the First United Methodist Church of Welsh, LLC v. Kerr-McGee Rocky Mt., LLC, 2014-2592 (La. Dec. 8, 2015), 193So. 3d 1110.

  • Represented ExxonMobil in a legacy case and secured (i) unanimous opinion from the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal affirming the dismissal of the Plaintiff-landowner’s claims based on the subsequent purchaser doctrine, Global Mktg. Solutions, L.L.C. v. Blue Mill Farms, Inc., 2013-2132 (La. App. 1 Cir. 9/19/14), 153 So. 3d 1209, and (ii) denial of Plaintiff-landowner’s writ application to the Louisiana Supreme Court, 2014-2592 (La. 4/23/15), 173 So. 3d 1164.

  • Assisted trial team in obtaining writ grant from the Louisiana Supreme Court, reversing decision of First Circuit Court of Appeal, and reinstating trial court judgment dismissing suit brought by landowners in Haynesville Shale area as an improper use of a declaratory judgment proceeding in an effort to invalidate unit-wide orders of the Louisiana Commissioner of Conservation. Gatti, et al. v. State of Louisiana, through the Office of Conservation, et al, 2014-863 (La. 8/25/14), 146 So. 3d 540.

  • Retained as appellate counsel for Shell Oil Company in a legacy case and secured (i) unanimous opinion from the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal reversing that portion of a trial court judgment which had awarded Plaintiffs-landowners $34 million, holding that the Plaintiffs-landowners were not entitled to a private money judgment for the cost of remediation of their property to state regulatory standards, Savoie v. Richard, 13-1370 (La. App. 3 Cir. 4/2/14), 137 So. 3d 78, and (ii) denial of the Plaintiff-landowners’ writ application to the Louisiana Supreme Court, 2014-1283 (La. 11/14/14), 152 So. 3d 880.

  • Represented BP in a legacy case and secured (i) unanimous opinion from the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal affirming a jury verdict in favor of BP,Houssiere v. ASCO USA, 12-791 (La. App. 3 Cir. 1/16/13), 108 So. 3d 797, and (ii) denial of Plaintiff-landowners’ writ application to the Louisiana Supreme Court , 2013-0694 (La. 5/17/13), 118 So. 3d 377. The Houssiere plaintiffs brought breach of contract and tort claims against BP under Act 312 for alleged contamination of property caused by historic oil and gas operations. The jury rejected Plaintiffs’ claims, finding that BP did not cause environmental damage to Plaintiffs’ property. The Third Circuit affirmed the jury’s findings and also held that the trial court properly applied Act 312 to Plaintiffs’ claims as presented at trial.

  • Represented Monsanto in seeking appellate review of denial of enforcement of an arbitration agreement. After the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal denied Monsanto’s writ application, Ms. Gonski assisted in obtaining a writ grant from the Louisiana Supreme Court with an order that the Second Circuit issue a decision on the matter. Hanlon v. Monsanto AG Prods., LLC, 2013-0169 (La. 3/1/13), 108 So. 3d 781. Following remand from the Louisiana Supreme Court, the Second Circuit reversed the trial court and ruled in favor of Monsanto, finding the arbitration clause valid and enforceable. Hanlon v. Monsanto AG Prods., LLC, 48,010 (La. App. 2 Cir. 10/ 9/13), 124 So. 3d 535.

  • Represented Dow Chemical Company as appellate counsel to assist trial counsel in seeking discretionary review by the Louisiana Supreme Court of an intermediate appellate court decision that had reversed a district court judgment dismissing class action plaintiffs’ claims for punitive damages. The Louisiana Supreme Court granted the writ application and, with an accompanying order, reinstated the district court decision. Thomas v. A. Wilbert & Sons, Inc, 2012-1534 (La. 10/12/12), 98 So. 3d 879.

  • Represented Cimarex Energy Company against a claim by a lessor seeking profits from the financial trading activities Cimarex used to hedge against price fluctuations of its oil and gas production as royalties under the lease. The United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana granted summary judgment in favor of Cimarex, and the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. Cimarex Energy Co. v. Chastant, 2012 WL 6652360 (W.D. La. Dec. 18, 2012),affirmed by 537 Fed. Appx. 561 (5th Cir. Aug. 2, 2013). This decision is believed to be the first of its kind expressly recognizing that royalty owners have no claim on profits made from financial trading activities used to hedge against price fluctuations.

Involvement

Professional

  • Women’s Energy Network

  • New Orleans Bar Association

  • Louisiana State Bar Association

  • American Bar Association

Community

  • Young Friends of St. Andrew's Village

 

Recognition

  • Recognized by New Orleans CityBusiness as "One to Watch" In Law, 2018

  • New Orleans Magazine's List of "Top Lawyers," 2017

  • Named a"Rising Star" of Louisiana Super Lawyers, 2017-2018

  • Practicum Editor, Loyola Law Review; Recipient of 2010 Best Comment Award

  • William L. Crowe Scholar

  • 2010 Spirit of St. Ignatius Award Recipient

                           
 
                               Kathryn Gonski
Selected in 2018
Thomson Reuters 

Presentations

  • "Writs to the Courts of Appeal and the Louisiana Supreme Court”, Louisiana Appellate Workshop: Real World Tactics, National Business Institute, June 21, 2013

  • "Professionalism: Why Should I Bother When Winning is the Only Thing?" New Orleans Bar Association, November 21, 2011 

Publications

After Hours

“Growing up in one of the great culinary cities of the world, I am a dedicated foodie-in-training.  And to compensate, I’m an avid runner.  My favorite race was a half-marathon from Napa Valley to Sonoma—the perfect convergence of my interests.”