Noble Energy Inc. v. ConocoPhillips Company, a 6-to-3 Texas Supreme Court decision, is a reminder of two things:
- How parties to a property transaction describe what’s being acquired and what’s being left behind can have grave consequences. The purchaser can acquire specific obligations associated with purchased assets, excluding all others not mentioned. Or, he can acquire all obligations, disclaiming none, including those not even mentioned and those he doesn’t even know about. Here, the difference cost Noble $63 million.
- When given a choice, the Texas Supreme Court is likely to resolve a dispute by relying on the words in a contract rather than notions of equity.