El Paso Field Servs., L.P. v. MasTec N.A., Inc.Annotate this Case
A pipeline owner (Owner) purchased sixty-eight mile-long pipeline constructed in the 1940s and made plans to remove the old pipeline and construct a new one that would carry butane. Owner awarded Contractor the contract to replace a certain section of the pipeline. After Contractor commenced work, Contractor filed suit against Owner for breach of contract and fraud based on Owner's failure to locate several hundred "foreign crossings" in the pipeline's path and its subsequent refusal to compensate Contractor for its additional expenses resulting from the obstacles. The trial court found in favor of Owner, finding that the parties' contract allocated the risk of any additional cost incurred because of foreign crossings to Contractor. The court of appeals reversed, finding that Owner failed to exercise due diligence in locating the foreign crossings. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals' judgment and reinstated the trial court's judgment, holding (1) the contract allocated all risk to Contractor for unknown obstacles discovered during the construction process; and (2) the jury's answers to questions about Contractor's recovery for breach of contract based on due diligence were immaterial.