Questions from Tiffany’s Desk: Is that liability release worth more the paper it’s written on?

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Question:  This is one I get a lot when I give presentations suggesting the use of liability releases before allowing people on your property to undertake certain activities like hunting or riding horses.  Are these releases enforceable?  As one gentleman put it, “Is a liability release worth any more than the paper it’s written on?” Answer:  If drafted correctly, a liability release is enforceable under Texas law and may allow the released party to avoid liablity.  Releases, however, are not favored and are narrowly construed against the released… Read More →

July 31, 2015 Weekly Round Up

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*Don’t forget to nominate the Texas Agriculture Law Blog as one of the Top 100 Legal Blogs, click here.* The summer sure seems to be flying by and here we are at the end of July!  Here are a few ag law stories in the news this week. * Investigation into whether Big Bend Pipeline Should Face Federal Regulation.  You may remember from this prior blog that a pipeline is proposed to transport natural gas between the Permian Basin and Mexico, through Big Bend.  This week, the Federal… Read More →

It’s ABA Top 100 Blawg Nomination Time!

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Now that we are in the heat of summer, it’s time to nominate your favorite legal blogs for the American Bar Association’s list of the Top 100 legal blogs (creatively called “Blawgs”). To nominate the Texas Agriculture Law Blog, just click here and fill out the quick nomination form.  The deadline for submissions is August 16, 2015.   Last year, we were extremely honored to be recognized as one of the Top 100 legal blogs in the nation, and the only agricultural law blog to receive recognition.  This… Read More →

Texas Exempt Wells: Where Does Fracking Fit?

Drill pad Bryan

I am excited to have an article, “Texas Exempt Wells: Where Does Fracking Fit?,”  published in the current issue of the Natural Resources Journal.  This issue of the NRJ focuses on water and offers articles in a variety of topics.  To view the current issue, click here. In our article, Lubbock-based agricultural law attorney Amber Miller and I offer an in depth analysis of the Texas exempt well statute and ask the important question of where water used for hydraulic fracturing fits under this statutory provision.  Here is a… Read More →

Water Law Webinar: Watch It Now

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Earlier this month, I was honored to be asked to participate in the Natural Resource Webinar Series put on by Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.  The organizers asked me to speak about basic water law in Texas. I know many of you are very interested in this topic.  Fortunately, Pete Flores recorded the webinar and it is available to view anytime by just clicking here. Additionally, for those of you interested in Texas Water Law, you can read my blog post describing the basics of Texas groundwater law here… Read More →

July 24, 2015 Weekly Round Up

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It’s been a beautiful week here in the Texas Panhandle!  Here are some ag law stories making headlines this week. * Missouri Suing USDA Over Crop Insurance Deadline.  On Wednesday, Missouri filed suit against the USDA, seeking the delay of a reporting deadline related to crop insurance. [To view the Complaint, click here.] Due to recent rains and flooding, it is estimated that 60% of Missouri farmers did not have their crop planted by the deadline, which is required in order to file acreage reports necessary to obtain… Read More →

Questions from Tiffany’s Desk: How Do I Find Out If I Own Mineral Rights?

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Question:  I own property in Texas.  How can I find out whether I own the mineral rights as well? Answer: Without question, this is one of the most common questions I am asked by Texas landowners.  As the question notes, in Texas, mineral ownership can be (and often is) severed from surface ownership.  Oftentimes these severances occurred several generations ago, leaving current owners unsure of their ownership status.  Further complicating the issue is the fact that ownership of mineral rights may be divided in a number of ways,… Read More →

July 17, 2015 Weekly Round Up

Photo by Wyman Meinzer

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 →

Hawaii Judge Strikes Down Maui County GMO Ban

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A Hawaii federal judge recently ruled that a Maui County law banning GMO crops is invalid because it is pre-empted by federal and state law.  [To read the full Order, click here.] The Ordinance In November 2014, Maui County passed a ballot initiative “A Bill Placing a Moratorium on the Cultivation of Genetically Engineered Organisms” (“the Ordinance”).  The Ordinance makes it “unlawful for any person or entity to knowingly propagate, cultivate, raise, grow, or test Genetically Engineered Organisms within the County of Maui.”  An exception existed for organisms… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Finds for Royalty Owners in Hyder Case

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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 →