Riane Fern is a trial lawyer whose civil litigation practice involves the resolution of a broad range of complex commercial and business disputes in both state and federal courts, with a particular emphasis on representing clients in the energy and oil and gas industries. Her litigation experience includes representing oil and gas exploration and production companies in a variety of contractual and operational matters, including oil and gas related contract disputes, royalty owner issues, lease disputes, well production disputes, property damage, and personal injury.
Riane’s ligation experience has also involved the representation of companies and individuals in a variety of other industries and matters, including representation of underground construction contracting companies, real estate holding companies, and individual stockholders in contractual and tort disputes and litigation; representation of entities and individuals in qui tam actions and forcible entry and detainer actions; and representation of individuals, entities and trusts in interfamily disputes involving estate challenges, dissolution and governance of closely held entities, and the interpretation of family trust agreements, antenuptial agreements, and other estate planning instruments/
Prior to joining McAfee & Taft, Riane graduated summa cum laude from the Oklahoma City University School of Law, graduating first in her class and receiving the law school’s Outstanding Academic Performance Award and 17 CALI Excellence for the Future Awards for top performance in various law school subjects. She was also selected by the law school faculty to receive the Outstanding Senior Law Student Award presented by the Oklahoma Bar Association. During law school, Riane also served as a judicial extern for The Honorable Robert E. Bacharach of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.Download Bio (PDF)
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of plaintiff awarding monetary damages and an equitable lien on residential property in lawsuit involving promise by defendant to repay funds loaned by plaintiff to enable defendant to purchase residential property in his name. Judgment affirmed on appeal by the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals.
- Represented local telecommunications company in several disputes with other contractors for breaches of master service agreements and allegations of unpaid or inadequate services.
- Represented several clients in civil interfamily disputes and lawsuits involving family or individual trusts, challenges to antenuptial agreements, dissolution of family-owned, closely held business entities and other corporate governance disputes, and challenges to estate planning.
- Represented local medical practice and member-physicians in related state and federal lawsuits involving the False Claims Act and actions by former employee-relator in connection with his filing of a federal qui tam lawsuit.
- Defended several individual stockholders in lawsuit brought by financial advisory company alleging it was owed an unpaid fee arising from stock purchase agreements between stockholders and third-party entity.
- Represented commercial real estate holding company in forcible entry and detainer lawsuit against commercial lessee, which also involved claims for back rent and late fees. Forcible entry and detainer aspect resolved favorably for client. Obtained summary judgment as to claims for back rent and late fees.
Oil and Gas Industry:
- Defended oil and gas operator in lawsuit alleging damages to vertical wells from offset hydraulic fracturing operations. After successful removal of the lawsuit from state court to federal court, obtained dismissal of plaintiffs’ claims as being time-barred. Judgment affirmed on appeal by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of oil and gas operator in lawsuit asserting causes of action for declaratory judgment, quiet title, trespass and conversion, with the court determining in our client’s favor that the language in several term assignments contained unambiguous language that the assignments had been perpetuated past their primary term.
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of oil and gas operator that plaintiff had been receiving correct amount of royalty payments from our client from the production of a multiunit horizontal well under the Shale Reservoir Development Act.
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of oil and gas operator determining that plaintiff and its purported predecessors-in-interest had no title or standing as to subject property pooled by our client under Oklahoma’s Marketable Record Title Act.
- Successfully represented oil and gas operator against plaintiff’s allegations that he was owed royalty payments. Sought summary judgment premised on plaintiff’s lack of standing. Lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed by plaintiff after motion for summary judgment was filed.
- Prosecuted lawsuit on behalf of oilfield rental equipment company in federal court alleging defendant breached duties in master services agreement to defend and indemnify our client. Successfully moved for summary judgment that the defendant owed our client both duties under the unambiguous language of the agreement. After the only issue remaining for trial was whether the amount of our client’s settlement in an underlying lawsuit was reasonable, the lawsuit resulted in a favorable settlement.
- Currently defending several oil and gas operators and lessees in myriad state court lawsuits seeking oil and gas lease cancellation due to oil and gas wells’ alleged failure to produce in paying quantities or due to an alleged breach of the implied covenant to develop.
Professional Organizations and Memberships
- Oklahoma County Bar Association (Board Member, Young Lawyers Division)
- Oklahoma Bar Association
- Mineral Lawyers Society of Oklahoma City