Rosario Doriott Domínguez Speaks on Judicial Deference

February 13, 2023

Ryan Law partner Rosario Doriott Domínguez recently spoke on the topic Contesting the Department of the Interior by and through Judicial Deference at the 9th Annual Oil and Gas Disputes Course in Houston, Texas, presented by the Texas Bar Association.

Doriott Domínguez focuses her practice on litigation and transactional work encompassing federal, Indian, state, and private oil and gas royalty issues. She regularly advises companies in connection with the calculation, payment, and reporting of onshore and offshore, oil and gas royalties – and especially when interacting with the Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) and Department of the Interior (DOI).

She provided attendees with an overview of how the various judicial deference regimes (Chevron, Skidmore, Seminole Rock, Auer, and Kisor) have been applied in litigation brought under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) involving the Department of the Interior, including how often (and under what circumstances) the agency’s final action(s) have been affirmed or reversed. She then provided various critiques of judicial deference, as explained by currently sitting federal court judges as well as Supreme Court Justices. She then provided insight into how judicial deference will continue to evolve under the current Court and how practitioners might influence those changes.

Finally, relying on her own experience litigating against the Department of the Interior, and specifically the Office of Natural Resources Revenue, she provided procedural tips that oil and gas companies, and their counsel, might employ to increase their odds against these agencies. Doriott Domínguez’s most recent notable experience includes:

  • Devon Energy Prod. Co., L.P. v. Gould, 421 F.Supp.3d 1213 (D.Wyo. 2019) (vacating Director of ONRR decision assessing additional royalties and alleging improper transportation deductions under marketable condition rule; first federal court decision holding ONRR Director decision improperly expanded upon underlying order to report and pay and agency failed to properly issue underlying order specifying claims);
  • Continental Resources, Inc. v. Gould, 410 F.Supp.3d 30 (D.D.C. 2019) (setting aside Director of ONRR decision assessing additional royalties and alleging improper valuation; first case holding valuation of unprocessed gas sold at wellhead under percentage-of-proceed contracts as processed gas using residue gas pricing was arbitrary, capricious, plainly erroneous, and inconsistent with regulation); and
  • Continental Resources, Inc. v. Jewell, 846 F.3d 1232 (D.C. Cir. 2017) (successful case of first impression, determining proper application of the 180-day and 33-month periods for judicial review under 30 U.S.C. § 1724 and reversing lower court ruling determining a lessee’s suit to challenge federal royalty demand was time-barred).

If you would like a copy of this presentation, please reach out to Rosario Doriott Domínguez directly at