Commercial Litigation

The business environment is more competitive than ever; so, too, is the world of commercial litigation. Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher & Landry has more than a century of experience representing businesses across diverse industries in complex litigation.

With the stability of your company on the line in many cases, it is imperative that you retain the services of a proven commercial litigation law firm. Our attorneys have a complete understanding of what it is at stake and what it takes to produce a successful resolution to any business dispute.

We evaluate all of the options and identify the best solution for your business interests, whether that involves early mediation, extensive negotiations, or going to trial.

Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher & Landry is available to advise business clients and investors of all sizes in a variety of commercial disputes, including:

  • Oil and gas litigation defense: We work with exploration and development companies, service companies, insurance providers, and operators on oil and gas transactions, mineral lease negotiations, environmental litigation defense, legacy lawsuit defense, and more.
  • Railroad litigation defense: We have extensive experience defending railroad companies against lawsuits filed under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), as well as nonemployee lawsuits such as property damage claims, crossing accidents, environmental lawsuits, and governmental disputes.
  • Toxic tort cases: Our firm has as much or more “first chair” trial experience in toxic tort litigation than any firm in the state.
  • Construction litigation: We advocate for plaintiffs and defendants — from family-operated businesses to national or multinational companies — in breach of contract, construction defects, payment claims, and a number of other construction litigation matters.

Our lawyers place a premium on client communication and careful attention to the smallest details. Our objective is always to resolve matters as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, but we never cut corners if it could result in less than an optimum outcome for a client.

We serve clients across Southwest Louisiana, throughout the state, nationally and internationally from our office in Lake Charles. We invite you to schedule an appointment to discuss your legal matter by calling or using the contact form on this website.

Complex Business Litigation

The Louisiana attorneys at Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher & Landry have more than a century of experience representing businesses across diverse industries in complex litigation. Our attorneys understand that, in many cases, a company’s reputation and future are on the line. Therefore, we strive to understand our clients’ goals, identify the best solution for our clients’ interests and then do what is necessary to achieve that solution, whether through negotiations or trial.

Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher & Landry is available to advise business clients of all sizes in a variety of commercial disputes and complex business litigation needs. This includes representing clients in both asserting and defending against complex breach of contract claims, unfair trade practice claims, breach of fiduciary duty matters and other commercial litigation.

This type of litigation is not necessarily limited to disputes between companies. Problems frequently arise among owners of closely held or family-owned companies with personal dynamics that must be taken into account. We are experienced in handling even the most significant of these disputes, and our history and position render us uniquely qualified to advise clients in these often emotionally charged situations.

We encourage you to contact us and discuss your legal needs so our experienced attorneys recommend the best steps to take. You can reach any of our Lake Charles lawyers by calling 337-433-9436. You may also use our contact form to provide some details of your situation and schedule a consultation.

Toxic Tort Defense

Southwest Louisiana is home to refineries and petrochemical industries, which serve as the economic backbone of our regional, state and national economies. While these industries have developed highly effective safety and environmental practices and strive to be environmentally responsible citizens, they find themselves subject to lawsuits — a byproduct of our increasingly litigious society.

Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher & Landry, based in Lake Charles, has substantial experience defending against these toxic tort cases. Our firm has the expertise and resources to provide a knowledgeable and aggressive defense for businesses in a wide range of complex toxic tort and environmental law cases.

Our “first chair” trial experience in toxic tort litigation dates back more than 40 years. This experience enables us to understand the most effective strategies in the particular jurisdiction and help our clients avoid various pitfalls that other defendants have often experienced.

Our lawyers have represented many of the large local refining and chemical plants in personal injury and property damage litigation. We have successfully represented numerous defendants in connection with claims alleging exposure to:

  • Benzene
  • Toluene diisocyanate
  • Phosgene
  • Asbestos
  • Other alleged toxins

We have defended clients in matters ranging from minor outages to matters involving hundreds of lawsuits stemming from refinery explosions and fires, oil spills, and numerous air releases where long-term exposure is a critical issue.

We welcome the opportunity to review the facts of your case and provide a straightforward assessment. To meet with an attorney who can answer your questions, or use our contact form to provide more information and schedule an appointment.

Railroad Litigation Defense

Located in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher & Landry has defended railroad companies for more than 50 years against a broad scope of legal claims, including injury lawsuits filed under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA).

As our railroad clients know, FELA provides workers who are not covered by state workers’ compensation laws the right to file a claim against a railroad employer for damages that can far exceed the limited predetermined compensation benefits. For this reason, it is imperative that clients receive sound legal advice from our experienced FELA lawyers from the very start.

While the attorneys at Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher & Landry have extensive experience defending railroad companies in claims brought under FELA for personal injury, wrongful death and other employee lawsuits, we also have experience in lawsuits brought by nonemployees, including personal injury railroad crossing accident claims, property damage claims, environmental lawsuits and governmental disputes. Because of this expertise, we are frequently contacted immediately after an incident to help our clients investigate and preserve valuable evidence, well before a lawsuit is filed.

Once a lawsuit is filed, our railroad litigation defense attorneys work with highly respected accident reconstruction specialists, highway design experts, medical professionals and other industry experts to develop a case for trial. This allows us to get the best results if the matter does go to trial, but it also empowers our clients to negotiate from a position of strength for an efficient and cost-effective resolution if that is in the clients’ best interest.

Contact us to discuss your railroad litigation matter. We will review the facts of your case, answer your questions and provide a straightforward assessment.

Employment Litigation Defense

Running a business has never been more complex or competitive. Allegations of discrimination, retaliation or harassment by an employee can divert your focus and damage your company’s reputation. The results can be costly, not only in terms of the bottom line, but also in its impact on recruitment efforts and employee morale.

Based in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher & Landry has a long and strong track record of defending all types of businesses in matters pending before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as well as matters in state and federal courts.

We handle a broad range of employment litigation defense matters, including:

  • Harassment and employment discrimination claims
  • Sexual harassment claims
  • Wrongful termination and retaliation
  • Breach of employment contracts
  • Wage and hour disputes
  • Whistleblower claim defense
  • Violation of public policy cases
  • Non-compete agreements

By assessing the strength of the case and fully explaining all of the client’s options, we help reach the quickest resolution possible, frequently without having to go to trial. Our clients not only appreciate the savings that they realize by avoiding court, but also understand the value of avoiding the adverse publicity associated with litigating an employment claim. Of course, if no fair settlement can be reached, our experienced litigators are always prepared to advocate aggressively on our clients’ behalf in court.

Preventing employment litigation is much better than resolving it after a lawsuit is filed. Many of our corporate clients therefore put our lawyers’ knowledge of federal and state employment law statutes to use by proactively consulting with us on specific workplace issues and steps. We have helped companies draft anti-discrimination training programs, draft employee handbooks and draft employment contracts, and advised employers on reduction-in-workforce procedures.

If you have questions regarding proactive measures such as this, or if you face allegations from an employee, call our experienced employment law defense attorneys at 337-433-9436 or use our contact form to provide more details and schedule a consultation.

Fiduciary Litigation

We represent individuals and businesses in the prosecution and defense of breach of fiduciary duty claims, including claims based upon all types of fiduciary relationships. We have secured a number of significant recoveries for our clients based upon breaches of fiduciary duties.

Construction Litigation

With the huge expansion and bright economic future predicted in the Lake Charles area, new construction — commercial and residential — is forecasted to increase. While this is great news for the community, it remains true that construction sometimes gives rise to litigation. Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher & Landry has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in construction law cases throughout Southwest Louisiana and the surrounding areas.

Our clients range from family-operated businesses to large national companies. We also work with general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, engineers, developers and design professionals in the full spectrum of construction law, including:

  • Breach of contract litigation
  • Construction defects
  • Design defects
  • Payment claims
  • Enforcement of lien rights

Our lawyers have extensive experience identifying, preparing and presenting construction claims. We have established a network of outside experts in the construction field, including architects, engineers, contractors and inspectors. This allows us to build strong cases on our clients’ behalf, which we are prepared and capable of taking to trial. Often, however, our preparation enables our attorneys to resolve the disputes through negotiations that achieve our clients’ objectives while avoiding the expense and time required in litigation.

Whether you are defending your business in a lawsuit or have a payment dispute or defective construction claim, our team of experienced litigators is proven effective in resolving these matters efficiently and cost-effectively. Because we represent businesses on both sides of these disputes, we can often anticipate the legal strategy that we will face from opposing counsel and prepare our case accordingly.

If you have questions about a construction litigation matter, call 337-433-9436, or use our contact form to provide more information and schedule an appointment.

Oil and Gas Litigation Defense

As our clients know, America is in the midst of an energy renaissance and Louisiana is leading the way. Given the unique nature of Louisiana’s oil and gas laws, it is important to have the advice of competent attorneys with experience and expertise under Louisiana’s Mineral Code.

Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher & Landry has that experience and expertise. Our Lake Charles attorneys have represented companies in the oil, gas and energy industry, both onshore and offshore, for more than a century, on matters including:

  • Legacy lawsuit defense, including associated indemnity and insurance claims
  • Environmental litigation defense
  • Oil royalty litigation
  • Oil rig workers’ maritime injury claims defense
  • Admiralty and maritime injury defense
  • Operator liens

Whether it stems from onshore or offshore oil and gas exploration and production activities, we offer a wealth of knowledge and experience to guide both in-state and out-of-state clients and law firms in dealing with Louisiana’s Mineral Code and unique mineral laws.

If you have questions regarding the litigation you face, call 337-433-9436 or email us to schedule an appointment with an experienced team of oil and gas litigation defense lawyers who serve the Greater Lake Charles area and beyond.

Business and Commercial Transactions



Real Estate Transactions

From simple sales and acquisitions to structuring large-scale developments, our commercial practice attorneys have years of experience negotiating and closing complex real estate transactions. Based in Lake Charles, Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher & Landry represents national, regional and local clients in a wide array of real estate development deals throughout the state of Louisiana.

We have served as lead counsel overseeing the issuance of title policies for more than 750,000 acres of timberland and four timber mills at a value in excess of $1 billion. The resulting timberland sale is reported to be among the largest in the history of the United States.

The firm coordinated the title research across 10 parishes (which is akin to a county in other states) and issued title commitments in less than four months with the use of its own copyrighted, web-based database. Although the database was created specifically for the project, it was designed to handle any other project of larger or smaller proportions.

Developers, investors, timber companies, industries, estates and lenders rely upon us for every manner of their real estate transaction, including:

  • Acquisitions
  • Permitting
  • Dispositions
  • Financing
  • Entity formation
  • Securitization
  • Sale-leasebacks
  • Commercial rental agreements

We also routinely help with:

  • Development
  • Planning
  • Zoning
  • Licensing
  • Rights-of-way
  • Servitudes
  • Easements
  • Construction contracting

If you have questions about a commercial real estate transaction or development matter, call 337-433-9436, or use our contact form to provide more information and schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable lawyers.

Oil and Gas Transactions

Louisiana’s Civil Law tradition and its “capture” theory of fugacious mineral ownership have led to the development of unique mineral laws significantly different from the mineral laws of other states. Louisiana’s atypical concepts of mineral ownership and mineral rights, embodied in the Mineral Code and historic case law, can be a trap for the unwary when negotiating a mineral contract or transaction. A thorough knowledge of Louisiana’s mineral laws is essential to achieve the desired result, and negotiating oil and gas transactions and agreements without knowledgeable and experienced Louisiana mineral law counsel can spell disaster.

Our experienced mineral law attorneys in Lake Charles at Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher & Landry can help you avoid many traps and pitfalls that may easily result if agreements or transactions are negotiated without a proper understanding of the underlying laws and concepts governing mineral operations and activities in Louisiana.

Our attorneys have extensive experience negotiating and drafting:

  • Mineral leases
  • Joint operating agreements
  • Surface leases
  • Seismic permits
  • Pipeline right-of-ways

We have represented numerous landowners, pipeline companies and exploration companies, and we are therefore aware of the most pressing concerns for all sides to the transaction. This experience gives us an unparalleled perspective, which is advantageous to our clients.

If you have questions and would like to speak with our skilled oil and gas lawyers during a consultation, call 337-433-9436, or use our contact form to provide more information and schedule an appointment.

Entity Formation and Governance

We are experienced in guiding new businesses in entity formation, including the formation of corporations, S Corporations, limited liability companies, and partnerships. We’ve assisted businesses ranging from “mom-and-pop shops” to larger organizations and ventures across a variety of industries in preparing and adopting governance documents to meet their needs and plan for their future.

Estate Planning and Probate

If hard work and smart planning have helped you accumulate assets, it only makes sense to use that same smart approach to protect those assets and make sure they pass to your loved ones in the manner you choose. At Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher & Landry, our experienced estate planning lawyers provide our clients with personalized estate planning services, assisting them with everything from creating or updating wills to developing comprehensive business succession plans.

The estate planning attorneys in Lake Charles at Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher & Landry work with a variety of clients who have an equally broad set of needs. Some have a solid sense of what they would like to achieve, while others appreciate our ability to help them develop a strategy that achieves their goals and provides a sense of security. We help our clients:

  • Minimize estate taxes
  • Create trusts to accomplish objectives and protect assets from misuse
  • Plan for the possibility of incapacity with powers of attorney and health care directives
  • Focus on wealth preservation issues such as succession plans for a family business, protection from creditors, and qualification for government benefits and services (Medicaid and Medicare planning)

After a loved one has passed, we assist executors in estate probate to comply with their fiduciary duties. Our wealth of litigation experience also gives us a perspective in helping beneficiaries who, for unfortunate reasons, find themselves in will challenges or breach of fiduciary duty lawsuits.

We invite you to get in touch with our estate planning and probate lawyers to schedule an appointment by calling 337-433-9436, or use our contact form. We will review your estate planning needs or assist you with probate administration or litigation. We work with clients throughout Southwest Louisiana from our office in Lake Charles.

Bankruptcy Representation

Just because a debtor files for bankruptcy does not mean that a creditor is without recourse. It is essential to move quickly with the help of knowledgeable legal professionals in order to best maximize recovery. The bankruptcy attorneys at Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher & Landry, located in Lake Charles, have decades of experience representing businesses and financial institutions in collecting from debtors in bankruptcy cases throughout Louisiana, Texas and other jurisdictions.

We help businesses of all sizes protect their rights in every facet of bankruptcy proceedings, including:

  • Representing creditors in adversary proceedings and contested matters, including contesting discharges, lien ranking disputes, preference actions, fraudulent transfer cases
  • Obtaining relief from the automatic stay to protect the rights of secured creditors or allow pre-existing litigation to go forward in other courts
  • Opposing confirmation of reorganization plans that are prejudicial to our clients’ interests
  • Protecting cash collateral and enforcing lien and mortgage rights
  • Enforcing rights under executory contracts

Our lawyers have full knowledge of the rules and procedures concerning bankruptcy litigation. We also develop creative solutions for creditor representation aimed at maximizing recoveries while preserving future revenue when a debtor remains a potential customer.

We welcome the opportunity to review your situation and recommend the best legal steps to take to protect your profitability and bottom line. Call 337-433-9436 or email us to schedule an appointment.

Apellate Law

At Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher & Landry, our attorneys in Lake Charles have experience in both trial and appellate law matters. We believe that this rounded experience helps our attorneys better prepare records at trial that will stand up on appeal.

Partner Patrick D. Gallaugher Jr. has handled landmark precedent-setting appeals in complex oil and gas disputes, and was managing editor of the Tulane Law Review. Partner Robert E. Landry, formerly a Senior Editor of the Louisiana Law Review, has argued numerous appeals to state and federal appellate courts as well as to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Partner Scott Scofield has been the primary counsel on a number of successful reported decisions. Other partners, including Phillip DeVilbiss, have argued before both state and federal appellate courts.

Moreover, recent additions to the firm include , formerly Senior Notes and Comments Editor of the Tulane Law Review.

Our attorneys provide clients with skills that often produce successful appeals in a wide variety of cases. We strive to meet exceptionally high standards in legal and factual analysis, appellate brief writing and oral advocacy.

Please visit our individual attorney pages for more information on landmark and noteworthy reported appeals decisions handled by the firm.

To discuss your appellate matter with one of our experienced lawyers, call 337-433-9436 or use the contact form on this website.

Local Counsel

Attorneys and law firms across the United States know our reputation here at the Lake Charles law firm of Scofield, Gerard, Pohorelsky, Gallaugher & Landry. That is why we are frequently asked to serve as local counsel to out-of-state law firms whose clients find themselves involved in major litigation in Louisiana state and federal courts. As local counsel, our role can vary from serving in a traditional local “eyes and ears” role to serving as lead or co-lead counsel.

Regardless of the role requested of us, our goal is to provide the highest-quality legal advice and assistance to the mutual client, coupled with unsurpassed responsiveness. There is no compliment we enjoy more than being told by out-of-state counsel that working with us reminds them of working with their own partners. That is why we often form lasting bonds with out-of-state counsel who come back to us again and again.

By way of illustration, we have served as local counsel in Louisiana matters with a variety of law firms, including Gibbs & Bruns; Kirkland & Ellis; Norton, Rose Fulbright; Neal & Harwell; Bowman & Brooke; Jones Day; Haynes & Boone; Littler Mendelson; Balch & Bingham; McGuireWoods; and Shook, Hardy & Bacon.

Local Counsel For Louisiana Business Transactions

Local counsel is not only important in litigation matters. Our transactional lawyers can also help out-of-state firms understand how Louisiana’s unique Civil Law system impacts their clients’ large transactional, real estate or financing matters. We have assisted in the formation of commercial and industrial facilities, including chemical companies, manufacturers, restaurants, hotels, theaters and retailers.

The out-of-state firms and clients whom we have helped include Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice; O’Melveny & Myers; Gholson, Hicks & Nichols; Donovan & Giannuzzi; Latham & Watkins; and the National Accounts Offices of First American Title Insurance Company throughout the United States, including New York, Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, California, Denver and Seattle.

To learn more or to work with us, we invite you to call 337-433-9436 or use the contact form on this website.