Mr. Stassi has practiced law since 1997 and has been a partner with the firm since 2006.
Practice Areas and Experience:
Mr. Stassi has extensive experience solving problems and successfully bringing disputes to resolution for clients in the maritime, construction, real estate, oil and gas and banking industries. He has represented clients zealously in state court, federal court, arbitration proceedings and in mediations. Mr. Stassi has achieved good results for clients in numerous, often complex, commercial litigation matters, including: breach of contract claims; oil, gas and mineral lease and operating agreement disputes; servitudes and other right of way disputes; commercial lease disputes and evictions; representing owners, contractors, subcontractors and design professionals in all manners of construction claims; public bid law disputes; bond, lien and privilege claims under the Louisiana Private Works Act, Louisiana Public Works Act, Oil Well Lien Act and the Miller Act; business tort and fraud claims; debt collection; and insurance coverage disputes on behalf of policyholders. A representative list of litigation matters is linked below.
To protect clients’ interests and to help minimize the risk of disputes in the first place, Mr. Stassi advises his clients smartly on contractual, risk management, insurance, and general corporate and business issues. He regularly prepares, interprets and negotiates business contracts, including master service agreements, vessel charterparties, supply contracts, hold harmless and indemnity agreements, purchase and sale agreements, equipment rentals, and all types of lease agreements. He has an in depth understanding of indemnity and insurance and works with clients regularly to utilize these tools to address and minimize risks. He also assists clients in understanding, complying with, and navigating exceptions to, Louisiana’s and Texas’ oilfield anti-indemnity statutes.
Mr. Stassi represents vessel owners and operators, commercial diving contractors, ROV and AUV companies, and marine geophysical/geotechnical underwater survey service contractors. He understands the business of commercial diving and underwater operations. In addition to operational contracts, he has handled numerous maritime asset transactions involving commercial vessels, dive boats, work boats, industrial and offshore vessels, barges, heavy equipment, saturation dive systems, unmanned underwater vehicles, and even recreational vessels. Mr. Stassi has knowledge of the United States Coast Guard procedures and regularly assists clients with national vessel documentation and registration processes.
In both the private and public sector, Mr. Stassi represents owners, general contractors, subcontractors and design professionals in choosing and implementing the best project delivery model and in preparing and negotiating all types of construction contracts, both offshore and onshore. He prepares and negotiates Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) contracts for large-scale and complex infrastructure projects. He has knowledge of AIA (American Institute of Architects) Contract Documents and assists clients in selecting the appropriate agreements to fit their project size and complexity, as well as in preparing/negotiating their amendments and supplementary conditions as needed to comply with Louisiana law and to manage risk. Mr. Stassi advises and works with public authorities, project owners and contractors in connection with public bid solicitations, compliance with Louisiana Public Bid Law (La. R.S. Title 38:2211-2296) and bonding requirements. He has an in depth understanding of Louisiana’s anti-indemnity statute applicable to construction contracts and works with clients to understand and navigate compliance.
Mr. Stassi has assisted sellers and purchasers alike in a variety of real estate transactions, such as: sales and exchanges of developed and undeveloped real estate, shipyards, industrial sites, subdivisions, and office buildings; preparation and negotiation of commercial leases on improved and unimproved land; and resubdividing property.
Mr. Stassi has experience assisting clients with corporate matters, including advising and representing clients in organizing and selecting of the appropriate entity (corporation, partnership, limited liability company) to meet business and tax objectives. He has represented buyers and sellers in stock and asset sales.
Represented NYSE publicly-traded real estate investment trust (REIT) and one of the largest self-storage operators in the United States. Successfully prosecuted arbitration matter on behalf of its self-storage facilities managing subsidiary in an accounting and contract interpretation dispute with third party asset owners relating to over forty properties spanning several states. Obtained arbitration award for client, recovering significant monies owed and defeating several counterclaims.
Represented international non-operating working interest owner in a deep water drilling prospect in numerous multi-district, high-stakes, law suits with its partners in the well and numerous third parties arising out of the explosion of the rig and the largest marine oil spill in history. Claims and settlements amounted to several billion dollars.
Successfully represented U.S. subsidiary branch of multinational electronics giant, and one of the world's largest manufacturer of consumer electronics, in litigation in multiple venues relating to commercial dispute with warranty service providers.
Represented the largest fastener distributor in North America (with over 2,200 branches), and the seller of various industrial, safety and construction supplies, in lease dispute litigation in Louisiana.
Represented a national automotive dealership digital marketing company, which was named a defendant in a United States District Court lawsuit brought by a company licensing vehicle comparisons content, alleging copyright infringement and violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. On behalf of client, successfully obtained summary judgment dismissing the lawsuit with prejudice, upon a showing that defendant did not copy constituent elements of the plaintiff's work that were original but rather the allegedly infringing vehicle comparisons comprised uncopyrightable factual recitations of vehicle features.
Regularly represented the owner and original producer of an annual, large, multi-day New Orleans music festival celebrating African-American culture and music in the United States, including providing risk management advices, contract work and various related litigation.
Represented multinational global supermajor oil and gas company in high-stakes litigation in Federal Court with another supermajor under their joint operating agreements in dispute related to tens of millions of dollars in costs associated with the dismantling of four oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico.
For years, has served as outside counsel to one of the largest dive service companies in the Gulf of Mexico with regard to risk management advices, corporate work, contract preparation/negotiations (master services agreements, charters and construction contracts) and various litigation. Representation includes all manner legal work related to its commercial decisions and operations for its fleet of vessels and vessel documentation work with the U.S. Coast Guard's National Vessel Documentation Center.
Represented large, national parking facility management provider in arbitration with property owner over management contract. Obtained successful ruling at arbitration awarding client all monies sought, full reimbursement of its attorney’s fees and dismissing all counterclaims. Assisted client confirming the arbitration award as a Federal Court judgment and executing on the judgment to collect it.
Represented holding company, as former owner of a downtown New Orleans hotel, against defaulting hotel purchasers to enforce promissory notes and security interests. In the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, obtained for client multimillion-dollar judgment, plus recovery of its attorney’s fees and acknowledgement of client's security interests.
Represented owner of several adjacent commercial properties acquired at U.S. Marshall sale in lawsuit brought by lessee seeking to nullify sale. Successfully defended lessee’s appeal to Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal, which affirmed summary judgment dismissal of lessee’s lawsuit for reason that the public sale did not trigger the lease’s right of first refusal, that lessee had no right of action, and that lessee was not entitled to “Mennonite Notice” pursuant to the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Represented target bank and its board of directors in various federal court strike suits and merger litigation arising out of a $1.5 billion stock deal. Settled class actions challenging the sale, alleging breaches of fiduciary duties and seeking to stop the bank merger.
Successfully defended national bank and various officers in lawsuit brought by business borrower alleging significant damages and business losses arising out of the manner in which loans were non-renewed and collateral was pursued. Obtained dismissal of the lawsuit on the grounds that plaintiff waived notice of default under the terms of the promissory note and that each of its various other claims was not cognizable under the Louisiana Credit Agreement Statute, La. R.S. 6:1121 – 1124. As appeal counsel, successfully obtained ruling from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal affirming the district court’s dismissal of the suit.
Represented commercial subcontractor in asserting statement of claim or privilege under the Public Works Act and in the concursus proceeding. Following trial on the merits, obtained money judgment against the payment bond company for full amount owed, plus interest, costs and attorney’s fees. Successfully defended appeal of judgment in appellate courts, which held that surety which issued bond could not assert “pay-when-paid” provision in the subcontract as defense against subcontractors' claims because allowing surety to assert clause to defeat payment to subcontractors, where the owner has escaped liability to the subcontractors by relying on the payment bond, would render the protections afforded laborers and suppliers on public works projects set forth in the Public Works Act meaningless.
Represented lender, mortgage company, to enforce its rights against a bank under a correspondent agreement pursuant to which client lender purchased mortgage loans. Brought litigation alleging bank’s breach contact in the manner in which it originated, processed, underwrote and/or closed loan due to same’s failure to comply with guidelines of Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”). Obtained favorable settlement.
Successfully defended national bank in lender liability lawsuits involving numerous allegedly forged and converted instruments presented over time in connection with a long term embezzlement scheme allegedly perpetrated by an account holder’s employee and outside conspirators. Obtained summary judgment dismissal of all claims against the bank. As to the numerous “forged maker checks,” dismissal affirmed by appellate court on basis of the “same wrongdoer rule” of UCC §4-406, the limitations period of UCC §4-406, and the account holder’s lack of care under UCC §3-406. As to the numerous “forged payee checks,” dismissal of conversion claims affirmed by appellate court on grounds that employee was clothed with authority under UCC §3-405 and the limitations period of UCC §3-420.
Represented large Danish business conglomerate through its transportation, shipping and logistics subsidiaries in federal court litigation action brought by port commissioners alleging breach of long-term lease of a large shipping and receiving terminal on the Mississippi River. Obtained summary judgment dismissing port’s claims alleging breach of contract for failing to repair, replace and/or restore extensive damages caused by a hurricane.
Represented National Bank in lawsuit brought by borrower alleging violations of various provisions of “federal and/or state law” that required lender to obtain flood insurance if the property owner failed to do so. Obtained dismissal of plaintiff's federal law claims on grounds that no implied private right of action exists under the National Flood Insurance Program.
Successfully defended Parish National Bank, obtaining summary judgment dismissal with prejudice of multiple causes of actions asserted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. § 1961, et seq. on the grounds that the Bank was not involved in any “Predicate Acts” of “Racketeering”, did not “Conduct or Operate” the affairs of a “RICO Enterprise,” and was not part of an “Enterprise” associated with any “Pattern of Racketeering.”
Defended Chevron U.S.A., Inc. in “legacy” law suit brought by alleged owners in indivision of a parcel of property alleging that the numerous defendants were current or predecessor lessees and/or oil & gas operators under mineral leases and alleging liability for compensatory and punitive damages as a result of alleged contamination of property. Obtained order dismissing claims against client.
In the wake of the Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Mr. Stassi represented numerous companies in disputes with their property and business income insurers. On behalf of those companies, he collected over $48.5 million in property damage and business interruption claims.
On behalf of owner of real estate appraisal company, obtained dismissal with prejudice of claims by a lender suing for loss of collateral for construction loan funds advanced to a builder where loss allegedly resulted from appraisal company's negligence in failing to properly certify construction progress on homes that were never built.
Represented various landowners and mineral lessors in their federal court law suit to cancel three different oil, gas and mineral leases covering two adjacent tracts of land comprising more than 3,000 acres situated in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana. Sought lease cancellation and damages based upon a failure to produce the leases in paying quantities and failure to reasonably develop and further test and explore all portions of the leases as required by the Mineral Code. Sought $9 million in damages for lost seismic and leasing opportunities, plus attorneys fees. Defended numerous counter-claims on the mineral leases. Following trial on the merits, obtained judgment cancelling lease and for money damages. Negotiated favorable settlement payment on appeal.
Represented owners of 2,680 acres of fresh water Louisiana marsh lands in prosecution of their claims against neighboring landowners (and their surface lessee) regarding a two mile right-of-way. Successfully tried the case to the trial court, obtaining a ruling, pursuant to Louisiana Civil Code Articles 689, et seq., recognizing landowner clients’ rights to an unrestricted servitude of passage along and over the right-of-way for ingress and egress to the neighbors’ properties; enjoining the neighbors from interfering in the future; and denying the neighbors any payment in exchange for the right of passage. Successfully defended judgment in Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit, which upheld the judgment in all respects.
Represented Texaco Pipelines LLC in a law suit brought by the owner of a co-generation power plant suing for more than $23 million for damages to combustion turbine generators allegedly caused by Texaco’s delivery of contaminated (and/or out of specification) natural gas used as fuel for the turbines. Obtained favorable settlement.
Defended Chevron Pipe Line Company in “legacy” law suit brought by alleged owners in indivision of a parcel of property alleging that the numerous defendants were current or predecessor lessees and/or operators under mineral leases and alleging liability for compensatory and punitive damages as a result of alleged contamination of property. Obtained order dismissing claims against client.
Represented owners of thousands of acres of marsh land in Jefferson Parish Louisiana in several different lawsuit against oil & gas pipe line companies claiming breach of a pipe line permit and right-of-way agreement resulting in severe erosion of the marsh land. Sought more than millions in damages as the cost of complying with the contract. Obtained favorable settlements.
Prosecuted the claims of a major pipe line company for damages exceeding $4,600,000 arising out of the allision of the a lay barge with pipeline owned and operated by client in the Gulf of Mexico. Asserted claims of client in the vessel’s limitation proceedings; obtained favorable settlement.
Represented Chevron Pipe Line Company as project owner in successful prosecution of breach of contract and fraud claims against company that was awarded large dismantlement project of Chevron's Ostrica Oil Terminal. Defended contractor’s cross-claims for breach of contract. Tried case on the merits, obtaining judgment in excess of $318,000 in favor of client. Successfully opposed motion for new trial. Successfully obtained dismissal of appeal.
Represented Burlington Resources Oil & Gas Company in class action for damages arising out of the blowout of a natural gas well being drilled in Assumption Parish, Louisiana. Obtained favorable settlement.
Prosecuted claims for damages of Chevron, as the owner of a terminal on the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, against the vessel, the M/T Nordlight, in rem, her owner/operator, and insurer. The vessel, while calling at the terminal to deliver a cargo of crude oil, allided with, and physically damaged, the Terminal's dock and fender system. Damages sought exceeded $250,000. Obtained favorable settlement.
RESULTS MAY VARY DEPENDING UPON SPECIFIC FACTS AND LAW