Category Archives: Texas Supreme Court Decisions

July 17, 2015 Weekly Round Up

It’s time for another quick rundown of ag law stories in the news this week.  Enjoy! *  Texas Supreme Court Will Not Hear Appeal in Ecom USA, Inc. v. Clark.  This means that the Amarillo Court of Appeals opinion in the case–remanding the case to the trial court for more factual development on the question of whether an arbitration clause in a cotton contract was enforceable–will stand.  To read my analysis of the Court of Appeals’ opinion, click on this prior blog post. *  Tensions High Regarding Pipeline Project to… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Finds for Royalty Owners in Hyder Case

In June, the Texas Supreme Court issued a 5-4 opinion in a much-watched dispute between royalty owners and oil and gas producer, Chesapeake Exploration, LLC.   [Read full opinion here.] This case is extremely important for all Texas royalty and overriding royalty owners to be aware of as it illustrates contractual language sufficient to prevent the production company from deducting post-production costs from royalty payments, and that which is not sufficient to prevent such deductions.  There is a fine line between sufficient and insufficient language, which can have… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Will Not Hear Bragg v. Edwards Aquifer Authority

On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court denied petitions to consider appeals from both sides in Bragg v. Edwards Aquifer Authority.  This result is surprising to many legal scholars who have been watching this high-profile case for years.  In light of the Court’s refusal to consider the case, the opinion of the San Antonio Court of Appeals will stand.  [Read full Court of Appeals Opinion here.] Background The Braggs own property that sits above the Edwards Aquifer on which they have two pecan orchards:  The Home Place orchard and the… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court: Duty of Executive Rights Holder to Non-Participating Royalty Owner

Recently, the Texas Supreme Court clarified the duty owed by an executive rights holder to a non-participating royalty owner when negotiating an oil and gas lease.  KCM Financial LLC v. Bradshaw is an important opinion as it makes clear what obligations the executive rights holder has, and does not have when negotiating and signing mineral leases.  [Read full opinion here.] Basic Legal Background Generally, if not severed, a mineral owner possesses certain rights as part of mineral ownership.  These rights include the executive right, which is the right to… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court: What Happens When Deed Descriptions Differ?

When the metes-and-bounds description in a deed conflicts with another, more general description in the deed, which controls?  The Texas Supreme Court recently answered this question in Stribling v. Millican DPC Partners, LP.  [Read full opinion here.] Background Millican and McGregor are neighboring landowners in Brazos County.  They are at odds over which of them owns a 34.28 acre tract. Tracing this back in the deed records, there is a 1945 deed that, using metes-and-bounds identifies 202 acres, including the 34 acre tract in dispute, as being deeded from… Read More →

Tx Supreme Court Holds Recreational Use Statute Does Not Apply to Spectators at Sporting Events

A question had arisen in Texas appellate courts over the last several years:  Would attending a sporting event as a spectator fall under the definition of “recreation” thereby allowing the defendant to raise the Recreational Use Statute as a defense? Last week, the Texas Supreme Court answered this question in University of Texas at Arlington v. Williams.  [Read full opinion here.] Background The plaintiff attended her daughter’s high school soccer game at the University of Texas at Arlington football stadium.  She watched her daughter’s game through completion.  After… Read More →

Anti-Climactic Ending to Underground Trespass Case

In a much-watched case involving underground trespass, the Texas Supreme Court’s ruling issued last Friday amounts to a punt.  Environmental Processing Systems v. FPL Farming raised the question of whether disposal well fluids disposed of thousands of feet below ground, which then migrate across property lines constitutes trespass. As you will remember from this prior blog, the Texas Supreme Court heard oral argument on this case one year ago. Background In this case, a Liberty County rice farmer sued his neighbor, a disposal well company, claiming that subsurface trespass… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Reminder: Read Before You Sign!

Last week, the Texas Supreme Court opinion in National Property Holdings, LP v. Westergren offers an important reminder to always read a document before signing.  [Read full opinion here.] Background Mr. Westergen was involved in a multi-party lawsuit over the right to purchase a 190 acre parcel of land.  During mediation, the parties agreed to settle their dispute, release their claims against one another, and that National Property Holdings (NPH) would purchase the property.  According to Mr. Westergren, NPH’s attorney orally promised Westergen that he would become a partner… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Issues Important Opinion Regarding Damages to Real Property

Last week was a busy one for the Texas Supreme Court.  In addition to the Hamrick v. Ward opinion we discussed on Monday, the Court also issued an important opinion in Wheeler v. Enbridge Pipelines, L.P. that clarifies the proper measure of recovery for damages to real property.  [Read full opinion here.] Background The Wheeler family owned 153 acres of heavily wooded property in Shelby County.  The Wheelers agreed to grant Enbridge an easement across the property in order to place a pipeline, but required that the pipeline be installed by… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Clarifies Law Regarding Implied Easements

The Texas Supreme Court’s decision last week in Hamrick v. Ward is important as it clarifies the law regarding implied easements, which could impact landowners across Texas.  [Read full opinion here.] Background The facts in this case are actually less important than the legal principles set forth by the court.  Thus, the facts are reviewed only briefly in very simplified form. In 1936, O.J. Bourgeois owned 41.1 acres in Harris County.  He convened two acres of this property to his grandson, Paul.  During Paul’s ownership, a dirt road was constructed… Read More →