$983,000 Arbitration Award for Negligent Misrepresentation Against Two Oil and Gas Executives

March 12, 2018

The final award was signed on March 12, 2019, following a final hearing in October of 2018. The three-member arbitration panel included Alan W. Harris, Patricia A. Nolan, and Mark C. Calhoun.

Julie Pettit represents Reticulum Management, LLC, a company who loaned $500,000 to Total Operating, LLC, an oil and gas company, based on representations made by Barrett Dean and Jacob Watters.

Respondents Jacob Watters and William Berry Dean III (“Barrett Dean”) made a series of representations to Reticulum Management, LLC to convince Reticulum to loan $500,000 to Total Operating—Dean and Watters’ oil and gas company. Dean and Watters assured Reticulum that Total Operating was in good financial condition and on the verge of huge profits. Instead, the reality was that Total Operating was on the brink of failure and already considering bankruptcy.

Dean and Watters represented to Reticulum that the $500,000 would be used to fund a new project that Total Operating had allegedly obtained.  Instead, Total Operating, LLC, led by Dean and Watters, used the money for other purposes. Reticulum argued that the money was used for past due taxes so that Dean and Watters would not have personal liability once the company filed bankruptcy, and the evidence showed Dean wrote and cashed 13 paychecks to himself just before the company filed bankruptcy.

The arbitration panel found Dean and Watters joint and severally liable for $500,000.

“We are pleased with the decision,” said Julie Pettit, counsel for Reticulum.  “This award confirms that everyone—even executives trying to hide behind their corporate shield—can be held accountable when they fail to tell the truth.”

The trial team from The Pettit Law Firm also included David Urteago and Jane Cherry.

Settlement Negotiations:  Nothing meaningful

The case is Reticulum Management, LLC v. Jacob F. Watters and Barrett Dean, case number AAA 01-17-0006-8709. Jacob Watters was represented by Jadd F. Masso, Annie J. Jacobs, Andrew Edson, and John O’Connor of STRASBURGER & PRICE, LLP. Barrett Dean was represented by William F. Lepage of Stutzman, Bromberg, Esserman & Plifka, PC.

A copy of the final award can be found here