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Michael O'Brien

Michael O'Brien
Michael O'Brien Partner | Calgary
Select Experience

A representative sample of recent experience includes:

Commercial/Energy Cases

  • Successfully defending ENMAX in connection with the defence of a high-profile, C$600-million action by the Attorney General of Alberta which sought to set aside a provision in an instrument under which it was terminated.

  • Ongoing defence and prosecution of multiple claims regarding alleged cost overruns and billing disputes with respect to the construction of an oilsands facility.

  • Routinely acting for energy companies in Power Purchase Arrangement disputes including numerous court actions and arbitrations.

  • Oil and gas litigation where he acted for an oil and gas company at trial in a C$100-million dispute regarding forward commodity contracts in the derivatives industry.

  • Successfully striking out a defamation claim against ENMAX Energy Corporation.

  • Acting as co-counsel on behalf of ExxonMobil in successfully setting aside a trial decision finding liability under the Competition Act which included setting aside the highest damages at large and then highest punitive damage award in Canadian law.

Intellectual Property Cases

  • Acting as co-counsel in a Benchmark 2017 “Impact Case of the Year", which involved defending a C$12-billion patent claim.

  • Litigating a number of cybersecurity matters including data breach incidents and writing in that area.

Class Actions

  • Successfully defending class actions on behalf of Canadian and U.S. financial institutions with claims in excess of C$100-million arising from alleged ponzi schemes.

  • Summarily dismissing a C$30-million putative class action against ENMAX Energy Corporation.

  • Counsel for leading multinational manufacturers and distributors in the defence of product liability actions involving surgical devices and hospital equipment.

Injunctive Relief/Replevin Cases

  • Successfully litigating several high-profile injunction applications, including successfully obtaining a high-profile mandatory injunction against a statutory corporation.

  • Lead counsel in the successful prosecution of an injunction on behalf of OPA! Souvlaki Franchise Group enforcing a Non-Competition Clause in the Franchise Agreement, including an award of full solicitor-client costs.

  • Representing several Canadian oil and gas corporations in successfully obtaining replevin of key corporate assets, including electronic seismic data.

  • Successfully obtaining pretrial injunctive relief relating to specialized oil and gas drilling technology.

  • Michael has routinely acted as Independent Supervising Solicitor ("ISS") on a number of Anton Piller orders.

Reported Cases

Recent reported decision in which Michael has been involved include:

  • Remington v Enmax, 2019 ABCA 69

  • Remington Development Corporation v Enmax Power Corporation, 2019 ABQB 754

  • Remington Development Corporation v Enmax Power Corporation, 2019 ABQB 901

  • 321665 Alberta Ltd. v. Husky Oil Operations Ltd., 2013 ABCA 221 (CanLII), leave to SCC denied 2014 CanLII 1208 (SCC))

  • Packers Plus Energy Services Inc v Essential Energy Services Ltd, 2017 FC 1111

  • ENMAX Energy Corporation v Balancing Pool, 2017 ABQB 718

  • Catalyst Canada Services LP v Catalyst Changers Inc, 2013 ABQB 73)

  • Alberta (Attorney General) v Alberta Power (2000) Ltd. et al., 2017 ABQB 195

  • Alberta (Attorney General) v Alberta Power (2000) Ltd, 2018 ABQB 100

  • ENMAX PPA Management Inc v Balancing Pool, 2017 ABQB

Awards & Recognition
  • The Best Lawyers in Canada 2020 (Lawyer of the Year)

  • Acritas Stars: Independently Rated Lawyer - 2018-2020 (Nominated as a stand-out lawyer by senior in-house counsel)

Professional Activities

Michael is the author of numerous publications and has spoken extensively on numerous topical issues and developments in all aspects of litigation. He is also the author of a number of publications in the areas of oil and gas law, energy law, and securities litigation and is a frequent contributor to the "Law Matters" publication of the Canadian Bar Association.

Since 2010, Michael has been a facilitator and competency evaluator with the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education bar admission course administered by the Legal Education Society of Alberta.

For a number of years, Michael was an instructor at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law, for Law 505: Civil Procedure. He was a former Board member of Calgary Legal Guidance and is also an active member of the Canadian Bar Association and the Calgary Bar Association.

Publications
Education
Intensive Trial Advocacy Course, Osgoode Hall Law School
Admitted to the Alberta Bar - 2005
LL.B., University of Alberta - 2004
B.A., University of Calgary - 2001
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