Thompson & Knight Advises MDU Resources On $300M Refinery Joint Venture

Friday, February 8, 2013 - 13:09

Attorneys with the law firm of Thompson & Knight LLP represented WBI Energy, Inc., a subsidiary of MDU Resources Group, Inc. (NYSE: MDU), in the formation of Dakota Prairie Refining, LLC, a $300 million joint venture with Calumet Specialty Partners, L.P. (NASDAQ: CLMT) that will develop, build and operate a diesel refinery in southwestern North Dakota. The transaction was announced on February 7, 2013.

The facility will be located on a 318-acre site in Stark County, North Dakota, and will process 20,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil per day. The refinery is reported to be the first built in the U.S. since the mid-1970s and is expected to bring approximately 100 new jobs to the area. 

“While the Bakken continues to be one of the most active oil-producing regions in the U.S., this joint venture helps to answer a specific need for diesel fuel in the region. MDU Resources has a long and distinguished history of providing high-quality products and services in the energy industry, and we were pleased to assist them in this important matter,” said Richard S. Green, a partner in the New York office of Thompson & Knight. Mr. Green and Roger D. Aksamit, a partner in the firm’s Houston office, led the Thompson & Knight team on behalf of WBI Energy.

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Thompson & Knight LLP has announced the addition of Gregg J. Berman and Joseph A. Sarcinella in the firm’s New York office. Mr. Berman joins as a partner in the Corporate and Securities Practice Group, and Mr. Sarcinella joins the Real Estate and Banking Practice Group.

“Gregg and Joe are distinguished lawyers with decades of valuable experience and impressive credentials. Their collective expertise in corporate and securities, finance, and real estate transactions add to the depth and breadth of Thompson & Knight’s extensive practices, will facilitate the continued growth of our New York office, and increase our firm-wide synergies to the benefit of our clients,” says Philip J. Kessler, the firm’s New York office leader.

Mr. Berman focuses his practice on corporate and securities transactions, including the representation of companies and investment banks in all types of public and private debt and equity offerings. He also handles M&A transactions for public and private companies and represents private equity firms in their investments. Mr. Berman has been named to The Best Lawyers in America® by Woodward/White Inc. in Corporate Law from 2005-2013. He is admitted to practice in New York, is a member of the American Bar Association and New York State Bar Association, and is an advisory board member of Thomson Reuters Accelus. He serves as director of the Churchill Centre and is an executive board member of the GlamourGals Foundation. Prior to joining Thompson & Knight, Mr. Berman was a partner at Fulbright & Jaworski LLP in New York.

Mr. Sarcinella concentrates his practice on real estate, finance and corporate matters. With nearly three decades of business and in-house experience, his expertise includes the real estate and finance aspects of large, highly structured M&A transactions, including multi-level joint ventures with multiple partners, bridge lenders and term lenders. He has negotiated hotel franchise and licensing agreements for lenders and franchisees for both existing hotels and hotel construction projects. He has also served as debt counsel on both the borrower and lender side of transactions. Mr. Sarcinella is admitted to practice in Connecticut and New York and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and is a member of the American Bar Association and New York State Bar Association. Prior to joining Thompson & Knight, he was a partner at Arent Fox in New York.

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Ida G. Wahlquist-Ortiz has joined Thompson & Knight as an attorney in the Intellectual Property Practice Group of the firm’s Dallas office.

“Ida is a great addition to our team, and we look forward to working with her.  Her legal and technical talents and strong focus on client service are great assets as we continue to expand our practice to meet growing client demands,” says Jane Politz Brandt, co-chair of the firm’s IP Practice Group.

Ms. Wahlquist-Ortiz focuses her practice on intellectual property law.  She is admitted to practice in Texas and the District of Columbia and speaks English, Spanish, French and Italian.  She is a member of the American Bar Association, American Intellectual Property Law Association, The Barbara M.G. Lynn American Inn of Court, and the Giles S. Rich American Inn of Court.  Prior to joining Thompson & Knight, Ms. Wahlquist-Ortiz served as a clerk intern for Chief Judge Paul R. Michel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and as a law clerk for the Honorable Vanessa Ruiz in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

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Thompson & Knight LLP has announced that seven attorneys have been elected partners in the firm’s Dallas office. The lawyers elected to partnership in the firm are the following:

Christopher L. Chauvin is a member of the Trial Practice Group and focuses his practice on litigation, arbitration, and counseling on matters involving contracts, negligence, RICO, defamation, real estate, and general commercial activities.  His experience includes obtaining injunctive relief, securing appointment of receivers in state and federal courts, and representing special servicers in a wide range of commercial mortgage-backed securities transactions (CMBS). 

Katharine Battaia Clark is a member of the Bankruptcy and Restructuring Practice Group and focuses her practice on bankruptcy, creditors’ rights, and litigation, including representation of banks, indenture trustees, acquirers of assets from bankruptcy estates, and debtors and creditors in Chapter 11, 7, and 13 bankruptcy cases in a broad range of contested matters and adversary proceedings.  

Adrienne E. Dominguez is a member of the Intellectual Property Practice Group and focuses her practice on matters involving intellectual property and complex commercial litigation.  She has represented national clients in numerous commercial matters, including patent and copyright infringement, antitrust, class actions, and breach of contract lawsuits. 

Jennifer Rudenick Ecklund is a member of the Trial Practice Group and focuses her practice on litigation and dispute resolution matters involving securities, healthcare, tax, and mortgage fraud, as well as matters related to Ponzi schemes and resulting receiverships.  She was previously a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division, representing the U.S. in all phases of litigation before federal district and bankruptcy courts. 

Jennifer Taylor Fargo is a member of the Real Estate and Banking Practice Group and represents lenders in multi-state construction and permanent lending transactions secured by real estate projects.  She also represents sellers and purchasers in real estate acquisitions, financings, and sales and has expertise in multi-state retail, warehouse, and office leasing transactions.

Timothy E. Hudson is a member of the Trial Practice Group and focuses his practice primarily in the areas of products liability, business litigation, securities litigation, class actions defense, and representation before government agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission.  He has also litigated numerous complex commercial matters and various contract, tort, intellectual property, and business disputes. 

Neely P. Munnerlyn is a member of the Tax Practice Group and focuses her practice on employee benefits, executive compensation, and taxation.  She advises employers and fiduciaries on tax and ERISA issues relating to the design and administration of qualified and nonqualified deferred compensation programs and welfare benefit plans.  She also advises clients on employee benefits and executive compensation issues that arise in mergers and acquisitions. 

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Thompson & Knight has elected nine lawyers to serve on the firm’s Management Committee for 2013.  Emily A. Parker was elected to her second term as the firm’s managing partner.  The other members of the Committee are Roger D. Aksamit, a member of the firm’s Tax Practice Group in the Houston office; William L. Banowsky, a member of the Trial Practice Group in the Dallas office; Max Ciccarelli, a member of the Intellectual Property Practice Group in the Dallas office; Greg W. Curry, a Client Services partner and a member of the Trial Practice Group in the Dallas office; J. Holt Foster, III, a member of the Corporate and Securities Practice Group in the Dallas office; Timothy T. Samson, a member of the Corporate and Securities Practice Group in the Houston office; Shad E. Sumrow, the Finance Practice Group Leader in the Dallas office; and Mark Weibel,  co-chair of the Real Estate Capital Markets Practice Group in the Dallas office.