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The untimely death of Mr James G. Wood, tenacious litigant against Shell

The untimely death of Mr James G. Wood, tenacious litigant against Shell

By John Donovan

The following comment, which appears to be authentic,  has been posted on our article “Shell Springboard: Is it safe to disclose your idea to Shell?

John Ricketts on May 12th, 2019 at 08:59 

Do you have more information on James Wood’s untimely death?

A friend From Magdalene College, Cambridge.

The question presumably stems from the following paragraph in the article:

Shell has also been sued in more recent years in the USA and the Netherlands by James G. Wood of Preda Consultants (Deep Water Slender Wells) for “alleged misappropriation of the plaintiffs alleged oilfield-technology trade secrets“. As far as I am aware, the litigation ended in 2016 after the untimely death of Mr. Wood, a man of the highest integrity and reputation.

I described his death as untimely because it came completely out of the blue. I was in contact with him several times a week, receiving the last email on 14 April 2014, days before his sudden unexpected death.

Although friends for many years, we never met.

We had a strong common interest: Suing Shell.

James brought proceedings against Shell in the USA for alleged IP theft.

He was warned by his lawyers in July 2005:

Shell’s lawyers will “lie, cheat and steal” to avoid losing the case, will not settle under any circumstances, and will probably try to appeal the case all the way to the Supreme Court if they lose in the local court.’

He later instigated action against Shell in the Dutch courts, again for alleged theft of intellectual property. The litigation was still in progress at the time of his death.

His late father, Mr. Peter M Wood, was a litigant in a global class action brought against Shell in the USA in respect of the Shell oil and gas reserves securities fraud. I was instrumental in arranging for Peter Wood to represent all non-American Shell shareholders in the litigation that was subsequently settled by Shell.

I have no reason to suspect that there was anything untoward in the deaths of the father or the son, both of whom were hard-working successful businessman, James with a flair for innovation in deepwater drilling for oil company clients such as Shell.

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