L.M. Sixel writes about the economy and the workplace for the Houston Chronicle. She started her newspaper career at the Beaumont Enterprise. Before that, she earned a Bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master's degree in economic history from the London School of Economics.

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Barry Smitherman, former Railroad commissioner, leaves Vinson & Elkins law firm

Energy lawyer and former energy regulator Barry Smitherman resigned his partnership at Vinson & Elkins on Friday. Smitherman, who joined the firm less than two years ago and practiced out of the firm’s Austin office, left Vinson & Elkins to “pursue other career opportunities and interests,” ...

Houston-based Tauber Oil Co. reached a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and will pay a $700,000 fine to resolve allegations it violated the Clean Air Act. The government accused the privately-held company of selling a fuel additive that was not registered with the Environment ...

Coats Rose adds three lawyers to energy practice

Houston based law firm Coats Rose added three new oil and gas lawyers to its office in Houston. All three came from the Fort Worth-based firm Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller that closed at the end of the year. Roger D. Scales, who received his law degree from the South Texas College of Law, wi ...

Cameron drops non-compete suit after judge’s ruling

Houston-based Cameron International Corp. dropped a non-compete lawsuit against FMC Technologies Singapore after a federal judge determined Cameron’s non-compete agreement was overly broad and couldn’t be used to stop an ex-Cameron employee from working for Houston-based FMC Technologies. Came ...

Fall in Exxon stock leads employee to sue over company’s 401 (k)

A retired engineer from Exxon Mobil Corp. alleges the giant energy company violated its responsibility to protect employee financial interests by continuing to offer Exxon Mobil stock for its 401(k) retirement plan while knowing the company’s stock was artificially inflated in value, according to a ...

Shareholders sue to stop Spectra merger with Enbridge

Shareholders have filed five separate suits in two weeks against Spectra Energy Corp., alleging the Houston pipeline company is selling itself too cheaply to the Canadian energy firm Enbridge. The all-stock deal, valued at $28 billion was announced in September, is expected to close early next year. ...

Texas couple sue Talisman Energy over Eagle Ford production volumes

Oil and gas royalty owners with interests in the Texas Eagle Ford Shale have sued Talisman Energy USA, alleging the energy company manipulated oil and gas production volumes by as much as 30 percent and shorted them on royalty payments. Eugene and Kimberly Cran of DeWitt County filed the lawsuit las ...

After wage cases, energy sector makes biggest payouts to employees

For the past three decades, accommodation and food service companies accounted for nearly one-quarter of all wage and hour cases, more than any other industry. But when it comes to recovery of back pay as the result of wage and hour actions brought by the Labor Department, no industry can match the ...

Marathon Oil sued over use of workers’ health care funds

Marathon Oil Co. is accused in a lawsuit of teaming up with an insurance company to embezzle Marathon employee health care funds. The suit, filed by Redoak Hospital in U.S. District Court in Houston, alleges that Marathon entered into “an unlawful agreement” with United Healthcare that a ...

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