Gordon Hansmeier and Chris Wills Win Summary Judgment in North Dakota Federal Court

Gordon Hansmeier and Chris Wills won a summary judgment motion that they filed on behalf of B&B Heavy Haul (a transportation company) in North Dakota federal court. The case involved in a plaintiff (Lenny Chapman) who was severely injured when an explosion occurred at a natural gas compression station near Watford City, North Dakota that was owned by Hiland. Chapman sued Hiland for his injuries.

In turn, Hiland sued Missouri Basin and B&B Heavy Haul, seeking defense and indemnification in accordance with contracts that Hiland had with Missouri Basin. Missouri Basin also brought a claim for contractual defense and indemnification against B&B Heavy Haul. Chapman subsequently settled his case with Hiland for $10 million and took an assignment of Hiland's indemnification claims against Missouri Basin and B&B Heavy Haul.

The district court dismissed Hiland's and Missouri Basin's claims against B&B Heavy Haul, concluding that those claims were outside the scope of B&B Heavy Haul's contractual indemnification agreement. The district court granted Chapman's subsequent motion for summary judgment against Missouri Basin, allowing Chapman to recover another $10 million from Missouri Basin. Missouri Basin appealed, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.

Chapman v. Hiland Partners GP Holdings, LLC, 49 F. Supp. 3d 649 (D. N.D. 2014), aff'd 862 F.3d 1103 (8th Cir. 2017).