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Energy & the Law

Category Archives: Land Titles

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Faulty Property Description Haunts Louisiana Servitude

Posted in Land Titles, Royalty Disputes, Title Issues

Co-author Brooke Sizer Halloween is approaching, so let’s talk poltergeists – troublesome spirits that haunt a specific location. Where do they come from? In Quality Environmental Processes, Inc. v I.P. Petroleum Company, Inc., it was from a faulty property description that lay dormant for 30 years before beginning its vexations. The Demon is Spawned A 1966 mineral deed… Continue Reading

Easements: Roads Traveled, Less Traveled, and Not Traveled

Posted in Land Titles, Title Issues

Why would anyone buy property without access to a public road? Because it seemed like a good idea at the time, I guess. And often it is, until things change, “things” often being new and unfriendly ownership of the surrounding property. The Texas Supreme Court has addressed this situation.  Hamrick v. Ward clarified the law for two different kinds of implied… Continue Reading

This is Why You Need a Will

Posted in Land Titles, Title Issues

Co-author Brooke Sizer Let’s talk title disputes, especially ones between those with record title and those claiming title by possession: They are complicated (There were 229 defendants in today’s case) They happen when there is a lot of money to fight over ($2.7 MM in today’s case) They involve events that happened a long time ago The witness who can… Continue Reading

Title Troubles in Texas, North Dakota and Montana: Right of Way v. Fee Conveyance

Posted in Land Titles, Title Issues

If you examine titles or read title opinions, this post is for you. By Taylor Grove Lamb  I was recently examining instruments for an East Texas title opinion when I came across an instrument that, at first glance, appeared to be an easement. Scanning the document, I saw the phrases “right of way” and “road”—leading one to believe… Continue Reading

The Duhig Rule – State by State

Posted in Land Titles, Title Issues

Co-author Tara Trout Flume As promised in our last post, here is a state-by-state review of the Duhig Rule –  who has adpoted it, who hasn’t, and who might. Texas – Duhig v. Peavey Moore Lumber Company, 135 Tex. 503, 144 S.W.2d 878 (1940) was a Texas case.  As a result, producing states have Texas to thank for the Duhig… Continue Reading

Beware, the Stealthy Duhig Rule

Posted in Land Titles, Title Issues

Co-author Tara Trout Flume Johnson v. Finkle, from North Dakota, centers around the long-standing but oft-forgotten headache that is the Duhig doctrine. If you aren’t familiar, you should be. Here it is: The Rule “Where a grantor conveys land in such a manner as to include 100% of the minerals, and then reserves to himself 50%… Continue Reading

Unrecorded Override Assignment Trumps the Public Records Doctrine

Posted in Land Titles, Lease Disputes, Operating Agreements

Lawyers and landmen are taught that a document affecting real or immovable property not recorded in the public records means nothing to a stranger. Like O. J.’s quest for the real killer, lower premiums after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the present I would have given my wife except I forgot our… Continue Reading

Old Rules Are Learned Anew in Louisiana Servitude Case

Posted in Land Titles, Lease Disputes

Occasionally in my litigation experience I’m reminded of time-honored rules of law.  Often I’m pleased, sometimes I’m not. So it was, I assume, for the parties in Midnight rilling, LLC v. Triche et al .The Rules In Louisiana law, operations and production of minerals sufficient to interrupt prescription of a mineral servitude for nonuse within a unit can interrupt the running… Continue Reading

Title Troubles in Texas, North Dakota and Montana: Mineral Reservations to Third Parties

Posted in Land Titles

Comparative Title Analysis in Texas, North Dakota and Montana co-authored by Katie English and Taylor Lamb The Title Question Harold Smith, the owner of Blackacre, and his wife, Wendy Smith, execute a deed covering all of their interest in Blackacre to Tiger Drilling. The deed reserves to Harold and Wendy a 50% mineral interest. Does… Continue Reading

Title Troubles in Texas, North Dakota and Montana: Conveyances to “Blind Trusts”

Posted in Land Titles, Title Issues

Comparative Title Analysis in Texas, North Dakota and Montana. Co-authored by Katie English and Taylor Lamb The Title Question Your title examiner often encounters a conveyance to an individual “as Trustee” with no Trust specified in the instrument. For example, the Mineral Deed conveys all right, title and interest in Blackacre to “Harold Smith, Trustee,” but… Continue Reading

When Can an Override be “Washed Out”?

Posted in Land Titles

Most of the time, if you read Stroud et al v. Hosford et al. even Hamilton Burger might have won on these facts. But when a lease subject to an override is terminated and replaced by another, Texas cases usually end up against the overriding royalty owner. The Holding: The court agreed with the jury that the lessee intentionally terminated the lease… Continue Reading

When Is a Notice-Of-Assignment Clause Not Effective?

Posted in Land Titles, Lease Disputes

A provision in a contract, no matter how unequivocal, does not always trump the law. The oil and gas lease allowed assignments, but no change or division in ownership of  the land or royalties would be binding on the lessee until the acquiring party had furnished lessee with the instruments constituting his chain of title from the original lessor. Jones v. Clem says… Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Confirms The Dunham Rule

Posted in Land Titles

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Or, as said by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, “A rule of property long acquiesced in should not be overthrown except for compelling reasons of public policy or the imperative demands of justice.”  There were no such imperatives in Butler vs. Charles Powers Estate, in which the Court upheld the “Dunham Rule” in Pennsylvania oil… Continue Reading

Deed Restrictions – Good for Barking Dogs, Not Good for Mineral Reservations

Posted in Land Titles, Title Issues

By Travis Booher In Texas title law, “it is well settled that a purchaser is bound by every recital, reference and reservation contained in or fairly disclosed by any instrument which forms an essential link in the chain of title under which he claims.” But does this rule apply to mineral reservations in deed restrictions?… Continue Reading

When an Easement Isn’t What it Appears To Be

Posted in Land Titles

 Here is Something We Know  A Texas mineral estate owner has an implied easement for reasonable use of the surface estate in developing and extracting the minerals below.  And a Question Can the mineral estate owner and his lessee use the easement to produce from a mineral estate that is pooled with the surface estate?… Continue Reading

Executive Right Owner Could Be Liable for Failing to Forward Royalty Payments

Posted in Land Titles, Lease Disputes, Litigation

The ghosts of Clinton Manges and people like him continue to haunt executive right owners in Texas. In the 1980’s, Mr. Manges’ abuse of his non-participating royalty owner inspired the Texas Supreme Court to re-affirm the obligations of an executive right owner to the NPRI owner: “utmost fair dealing” and a fiduciary duty. In Friddle v. Fisher an appellate court… Continue Reading