Co-author Rusty Tucker

Contract construction cases are fact-specific, but one can take lessons of general application from all of them. Here are the takeaways from Jones Energy, Inc. v. Pima Oil & Gas, L.L.C.,

  • In assigning an ORRI, it matters whether the parties intend to exclude production from a particular interval of a formation or from a particular wellbore.
  • It also matters, when two documents relate to the same subject, which one will control.
  • Courts rely on the grammatical meaning of words and phrases. If in doubt when writing or reviewing a document, brush up on your eighth grade grammar.

Caveat: If this analysis doesn’t make total sense (or, God forbid, makes no sense at all), it’s because the agreements are complicated and we don’t have the space to dive into them in detail. Focus on the takeaways.
Continue Reading Lessons from an Override Assignment

Here we continue our discussion of the Texas Supreme Court’s opinion in Piranha Partners et al. v. Joe B. Neuhoff et al. determining that an assignment of an overriding royalty in minerals unambiguously conveyed the override in production under an entire lease. The Court concluded that circumstances surrounding the transaction didn’t matter. Here was the

Co-author Ethan Wood

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us at Gray Reed! Assuming that most of you have been good this year (stay tuned for 2019’s Bad Guys in Energy to see who hasn’t), we hope Santa brought you everything on your Amazon Wish List. Our sympathies go out to those in the oilfield services industry in Texas—it looks like you got a lump of coal. In Mesa Southern CWS Acquisition v. Deep Energy Exploration Partners the Houston Court of Appeals upended the long-held view that mineral lien waivers violate public policy. Bah Humbug!
Continue Reading Oil Field Services: What is the Status of Mineral Lien Waivers?

Co-author Kelley Clark Morris

Suing a state and its public officials is difficult because of the doctrine of sovereign immunity. There are exceptions. State of Texas v. Signal Drilling, et al. presents several of them.

The rules

The State and its agencies are immune from:

  • Suits seeking to construe or enforce contracts to which the State is a party,
  • Declaratory judgment actions,
  • Ordinary trespass to try title suits.

There are exceptions. For example:

  • Claims against a state official in his representative capacity for non-discretionary acts unauthorized by law (the ultra vires exception).
  • Claims for an unconstitutional taking of property without adequate compensation.
  • Suits to require state officials to comply with statutory or constitutional provisions.


Continue Reading No Sovereign Immunity for the Texas Land Commissioner