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James D. Murphy

Partner

403.260.0152
jdm@bdplaw.com
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Education:
University of Calgary, Bachelor of Laws, 2003

University of Alberta, Bachelor of Arts (with Distinction), Political Science/Philosophy, 1999

Bar admission: Alberta 2004
Industries:
Aerospace, Agribusiness, food and beverage, Franchises, dealerships and distributorships, Construction, Financial services, Oil and gas, Power, Real estate, Renewables and energy transition, Technology
Practice areas:
Commercial arbitration, Construction litigation, Wills and estate administration, Employment litigation, Energy litigation, Estate litigation, Technology litigation, Litigation and dispute resolution, Mediation, Wills and estates

Experience

James's focus is on:

Commercial and general litigation

  • Broad experience in corporate, commercial, oil and gas, estate, construction, and other areas of litigation
  • Has acted as lead counsel in numerous Trials and Appeals before all levels of courts in Alberta, the British Columbia Supreme Court, and the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench
  • Has obtained numerous Anton Piller Orders and other pre-trial relief, including restrictive and mandatory injunctions
  • Has appeared before multiple tribunals, including the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA)

Energy litigation

  • Extensive experience in energy litigation, including contractual interpretation, joint venture agreements, operator's duties, offset well clauses, rights of first refusal, facility ownership, royalties, and accounting disputes

Construction litigation, including builders' liens

  • Acts for owners, general contractors and subcontracts in a variety of construction disputes, including builders' lien claims, delay and deficiency claims, tender disputes, and other construction disputes

Estate litigation

  • Experience representing personal representatives or beneficiaries in contentious matters involving wills, trusts, and the administration of estates

Occupational health and safety

  • Extensive experience defending companies against prosecutions brought under Occupational Health and Safety Legislation

Recent cases

Lead counsel for a defendant that successfully obtained a Court Order summarily dismissing a Plaintiff's claim to a working interest in numerous oil and gas processing facilities. This case turned on the proper interpretation of three joint venture agreements, the CAPL Operating Procedure, and the objective intentions of the parties to the contracts. O'Chiese Energy Limited Partnership v. Bellatrix Exploration Ltd. 2019 ABQB 53


Lead counsel to a publically listed oil and gas company in a confidential arbitration with its joint venture partner. The dispute raised issues regarding the operator's accounting and involved alleged damages of $70,000,000


Lead counsel to an operator in a $19,000,000 claim brought by its joint venture partner alleging that it misallocated gas and condensate volumes from joint wells at its gas processing facility


Lead counsel to a farmer who successfully obtained a declaration that a Joint Venture Agreement relating to the development of lands located near Langdon, Alberta was invalid, unconscionable, and had been terminated by the parties. The land developer unsuccessfully counterclaimed seeking approximately $50,000,000 in damages. Mikkelsen v. Truman Development Corporation, 2016 ABQB 23 and 2017 ABCA 99


Lead counsel to a roofing company in a claim seeking $6,500,000 in damages resulting from a fire that occurred while a commercial building in downtown Calgary was under construction. He successfully opposed an application brought by an insurance company to have two Actions related to the losses tried at the same time and to have the implied undertaking lifted. Center Street Limited Partnership v. Nuera Platinum Construction Ltd., 2017 ABQB 295


Lead counsel to a corporation that operated a feedlot and farm in Carnduff, Saskatchewan. He successfully obtained a Court Order declaring that his client was entitled to quiet enjoyment of the feedlot pursuant to a lease, and directing the Respondent to forthwith give up possession of the feed lot, and to allow his client free and unimpeded access to it. Purpose Farms Inc. v. Bar JB Ranch et al, 2017 QBG 2693


Lead counsel to an individual client who successfully obtained a Restricted Court Access Order, an Anton Piller Order, a Contempt Order, and a Vexatious Litigant Order against a Plaintiff. R.O. v. D.F., 2016 ABCA 170


Co-counsel to a corporation that obtained an ex-parte Anton Piller Order against a former employee who—days before he resigned—had downloaded an entire database of confidential client lists and other documents, and had surreptitiously taken 11 boxes of confidential information out of the office while everybody else was at the corporation's Christmas Party. As a result of the Anton Piller Order, the client got its client lists and other confidential information back from the former employee. Peters & Co Limited. v. Ward, 2014 ABQB 488 and 2015 ABCA 6

Professional involvement

James is a member of the Executive Committee, Partnership Admission Committee, and Student Hiring Committee at BD&P.

From 2011 to 2017 he was also a guest Instructor at the University of Calgary, Faculty of Law Trial Advocacy Course.

Professional associations

  • Member, Law Society of Alberta
  • Member, Canadian Bar Association

Presentations

James has also presented at various conferences, panels, seminars, and other events, including:

  • Gearing up for War: Building Your Case for Trial, Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers' Association, February 2021
  • Oral Advocacy Panel, University of Calgary, January 2020 and January 2021
  • Putting Energy Law into Practice, the Canadian Energy Law Foundation (CELF), University of Alberta, October 2018
  • Don’t learn Occupational Health and Safety Law by Accident, Association of Corporate Counsel of Alberta (ACC), November 2018
  • Occupational Health & Safety Obligations, Client Seminar, June 2017

Representative work

Successful summary dismissal before the Alberta Court of the Queen's Bench

Co-counsel for the successful defendant on the summary dismissal of a claim to a number of disputed facilities. The matter turned on the proper interpretation of joint venture agreements and the CAPL Operating Procedure and the objective intentions of the parties to the contract. (O'Chiese Energy Limited Partnership v Bellatrix Exploration Ltd., 2019 ABQB 53)

Represented a roofing company seeking $6,500,000 from fire damages

Lead counsel to a roofing company in a claim seeking $6,500,000 in damages resulting from a fire that occurred while a commercial building in downtown Calgary was under construction. We successfully opposed an application brought by an insurance company to have two Actions related to the losses tried at the same time and to have the implied undertaking lifted. (Center Street Limited Partnership v Lloyd’s Underwriters, 2017 ABQB 295).

Dispute regarding the misuse of confidential information

Counsel to a corporation that obtained an ex-parte Anton Piller Order against a former employee who—days before he resigned—had downloaded an entire database of confidential client lists and other documents, and had surreptitiously taken 11 boxes of confidential information out of the office while everybody else was at the corporation's Christmas Party. As a result of the Anton Piller Order, the client got its client lists and other confidential information back from the former employee. (Peters & Co Limited. v. Ward, 2014 ABQB 488 and 2015 ABCA 6)

Advising Purpose Farms in a lease dispute

Counsel to a corporation that operated a feedlot and farm in Carnduff, Saskatchewan. He successfully obtained a Court Order declaring that his client was entitled to quiet enjoyment of the feedlot pursuant to a lease, and directing the Respondent to forthwith give up possession of the feedlot, and to allow his client free and unimpeded access to it. (Purpose Farms Inc. v. Bar JB Ranch et al, 2017 QBG 2693)

Advising a farmer on a joint venture agreement

Counsel to a farmer who successfully obtained a declaration that a joint venture agreement relating to the development of lands located near Langdon, Alberta was invalid, unconscionable, and had been terminated by the parties. The land developer unsuccessfully counterclaimed seeking approximately $50,000,000 in damages. (Mikkelsen v. Truman Development Corporation, 2016 ABQB 23 and 2017 ABCA 99)

Securing a Restricted Court Access Order

Counsel to an individual client who successfully obtained a Restricted Court Access Order, an Anton Piller Order, a Contempt Order, and a Vexatious Litigant Order against a Plaintiff. (R.O. v. D.F., 2016 ABCA 170)

Confidential arbitration with a joint venture partner

Counsel to a publicly listed oil and gas company in a confidential arbitration with its joint venture partner. The dispute raised issues regarding the operator's accounting and involved alleged damages of $70,000,000.

Advising an energy operator in a dispute with its joint venture partner

Counsel to an operator in a $19,000,000 claim brought by its joint venture partner alleging that it misallocated gas and condensate volumes from joint wells at its gas processing facility.

Awards

Recent honours and recognition

Named as a litigation star by Benchmark Litigation Canada (2021-2022)