June 25, 2024 | 2 minute read

HOUSTON – The Supreme Court of Texas ruled in favor of Bracewell LLP clients Weatherford International, LLC and Weatherford Services, Ltd. in a case with implications for Texas-based companies with overseas affiliates.

At issue were wrongful-death claims asserted in Texas against these two Weatherford companies, alleging that they should be held liable in Texas for the death of an individual abroad who was working for an Egyptian affiliate of Weatherford. The claims, brought by the decedent’s surviving family members, arose from events in Egypt surrounding a medical exam that the decedent — a UK citizen who did not live or work in Texas — underwent at an Egyptian medical clinic while visiting Egypt before beginning his long-term assignment in Egypt to work for the distinct Egyptian company.

Weatherford International, LLC and Weatherford Services, Ltd. moved for dismissal based on the doctrine of forum non conveniens, arguing that the claims have no meaningful connection to Texas and instead should be brought in Egypt. The plaintiffs argued that the claims could proceed in Texas against these companies with Texas ties because they allegedly had a global policy emanating from Texas that caused the decedent’s death abroad. The trial court denied the Weatherford entities’ motion to dismiss, and the court of appeals declined to grant them mandamus relief.

Bracewell was retained by Weatherford International, LLC and Weatherford Services, Ltd. to seek relief in the Supreme Court of Texas. After full briefing, the Supreme Court granted mandamus relief to these Weatherford companies on April 26, 2024, ruling that the trial court should have dismissed the claims. The decision ensures that distinct corporate entities will be treated separately and that Texas-based companies will not lose the protections of forum non conveniens if disputes arise concerning overseas affiliates.

Bracewell lawyers involved in the matter included:

Partner: Jeffrey L. Oldham

Counsel: Tracy C. Temple