Co-author Brittany Blakey

In Headington Royalty, Inc. v. Finley Resources, Inc., this release was included in an acreage swap agreement:

Headington waives, releases, acquits and discharges Petro Canyon and its affiliates and their respective… predecessors and representatives for any liabilities… related in any way to the Loving County Tract…”

The swap agreement did not explicitly mention Finley Resources, and Finley did not execute the agreement.

The question

Was “predecessors” limited to prior corporate forms of the released party and its affiliates, or did it include predecessors-in-title?  The court held that Finley was not a corporate predecessor of Petro Canyon or its affiliates and therefore was not a released party.

The circumstances
Continue Reading “Predecessors” Does Not Include Predecessors-in-Title, Says Court

Co-author Rusty Tucker

Bell v. Midway Petroleum Grp., L.P., was a trespass to try title action, suit to quiet title for possession of a land, and a counterclaim for title by adverse possession. There are several …

… Takeaways

  • A Mother Hubbard Clause can save a deed in which the property description fails to satisfy the Statute of Frauds.
  • Testimony to establish adverse possession must be of such character as to indicate unmistakably an assertion of a claim of exclusive ownership in the occupant.
  • Where there is a claim for adverse possession, an overly agressive party risks paying the oppoent’s attorney’s fees.
  • Before you head off to the courthouse for vindication, remember that the complexity of legal and factual issues is wholly unrelated to the amount in controversy. We say that because this dispute seems like a lot of work for less than an acre of land.


Continue Reading Mother Hubbard Clause Saves a Property Deed

Co-author Rusty Tucker

Yesterday we discussed aspects of PPC Acquisition Co., LLC, et al. v. Delaware Basin Res., LLC, et al. Today we consider whether the retained-acreage clauses created a special limitation or a covenant and the relationship between the clauses and Field Rules in place at several different times. Did Field Rules establishing 640-acre units expand  acreage each lessee could retain? (The clauses are highlighted in the opinion and facts are in yesterday’s post.)

What’s the difference?
Continue Reading Texas Court Parses Three Retained-Acreage Clauses – Part 2

Co-author Rusty Tucker

PPC Acquisition Co., LLC, et al. v. Delaware Basin Res., LLC, et al. addressed retained acreage clauses in three separate oil and gas leases covering the same 640-acre tract in Reeves County, Texas.

Did the lessees hold acreage under the leases based on one producing well, the Colt #1 that was completed in 2003? OR, did the lessees’ failure to drill additional wells, re-classification of the well from gas to oil, and failure to timely file a RRC Form P-15 with a limited acreage designation terminate the leases for all or part of the acreage?

The facts
Continue Reading Texas Court Parses Three Retained-Acreage Clauses – Part 1

Co-author Rusty Tucker

In Susan Davis Van Dyke et al. v. The Navigator Group. et al., the Eastland court of appeals applied recent fixed-versus-floating NPRI principles to a double-fraction mineral interest reservation.

In a 1924 Deed Mulkey conveyed property to White and Tom and reserved “one-half of one-eighth of all minerals …”

Davis (heirs and assigns of Mulkey) claimed ownership of half of the minerals pursuant to the reservation. Navigator (heirs and assigns of White and Tom) claimed that Davis only owns 1/16th and that Navigator owns the rest. Ruling on dueling motions for summary judgment, the trial court agreed with Navigator and declared, among other things, that the Deed was unambiguous and that the Mulkeys reserved 1/16th of the minerals (1/2 of 1/8th) and conveyed 15/16ths to White and Tom.

Davis asserted claims under the estate misconception theory and the presumed grant doctrine and asserted estoppel defenses. This post can’t do justice to the court’s deep dive into these theories. See this long form summary for more detail.
Continue Reading Fixed-or-Floating NPRI Principles Applied to Texas Mineral Reservation

Co-author Brittany Blakey

The lesson from In re First River Energy LLC:  Even though Texas lien law does not require the filing of a financing statement for perfection, file one anyway. It will be helpful in the event a dispute is decided under the laws of another state.

The transactions

Texas and Oklahoma producers sold oil and condensate to First River Energy, a midstream service provider, which was expected to pay the producers by the 20th of the month following delivery. First River was organized under Delaware law and headquartered in Texas. First River filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware, by which time it had resold the producers’ oil to downstream purchasers and had $27.6 million+/- in accounts receivable, while the producers’ invoices were outstanding.

The producers from the two states asserted statutory perfected purchase money security interests in the proceeds of the oil and condensate under two statutes: Texas UCC §9.343, or the Oklahoma Lien Act, (Okla Stat. Ann. Tit. 52 §549), respectively. First River’s bank had a competing security interest in the debtor’s funds on deposit and other assets, including accounts and proceeds thereof, by virtue of security agreements executed under Delaware law. The bank’s interest was undisputed.
Continue Reading Red River Statutory Rivalry: Texas Lien Statute is Fatal to Texas Producers’ Security Interests

Co-author David Leonard

In a precursor of disputes sure to come, in Lyle v. Midway Solar, LLC, a Texas court of appeals delivered a win for solar energy by applying the accommodation doctrine in favor of a solar developer’s actual use of the surface of the land over speculative future development of the mineral estate.

The lesson for mineral and surface owners

Mineral owners: This decision should remind you to diligently monitor surface use and, as appropriate, intervene in the development process with informed feedback about your actual or potential surface use needs.

Surface users: Conversely, you should be willing to incorporate informed feedback from mineral owners into the design of surface projects. An arbitrary and unilateral designation of drilling areas is unlikely to suffice under many circumstances.
Continue Reading Solar Beats Minerals in a Texas Accommodation Doctrine Battle