Texas Supreme Court Issues Important Opinion Regarding Damages to Real Property

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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

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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 →

August 29, 2014 Weekly Round Up

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I spent last week running all over the state for presentations once again.  On Monday I was in Amarillo to discuss managing oil and gas contracts for farms and ranches, Tuesday found me in Georgetown discussing water law, Thursday I headed to San Antonio to discuss current hot topics in Agricultural Law with the South Texas Farm and Ranch Club, and finally on Friday I was in McKinney discussing drafting hunting leases at the North Texas Wildlife Management Program.  Thanks to the organizers of each event for the… Read More →

Case Illustrates Importance of Detailed Lease Provisions in Case of Drought

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The Amarillo Court of Appeals recently considered a case involving an alleged breach of a grazing lease.  Miller v. Durham illustrates the importance of lease agreements addressing what will happen in the event of drought, fire, or other natural disaster that damages the forage available for livestock under the lease.  [Read full opinion here.] Background Mr. Durham owned ranchland in Hale and Lubbock counties.  In January 2010, the Millers entered into a grazing lease agreement with Mr. Durham to lease 889 acres that was to last from January 1, 2010, to December 31,… Read More →

Back To School Checklist Should Include Powers of Attorneys for College Students

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Most of the time, powers of attorney are drafted as part of the estate planning process.  As college students head back to campus this fall, however, they should consider preparing powers of attorney for financial and healthcare needs. Once children reach the age of 18, parents are no longer able to automatically make financial and medical decisions on their behalf.  For example, healthcare privacy laws will not let parents access healthcare information about their adult children absent written authorization.  Similarly, if a child is in an accident and… Read More →

Domestic Horse Slaughter: Where Are We Now?

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Domestic horse slaughter is one of the most controversial issues in agricultural law.  Over the last three years, there have been a number of developments on the issue, from the courthouse to Capitol  Hill.  To review all prior blog posts related to horse slaughter, click here. I recently wrote an article for Progressive Cattleman that provides a brief history of the status of horse slaughter in the U.S. and explains where the issue currently stands.  You may read the article online by clicking here.    

August 15, 2014 Weekly Round Up

This week I was literally all across the state of Texas at various programs.  From Monahans discussing oil and gas leasing, pipeline easement negotiations, and water law, to Caldwell speaking on groundwater ownership, to Diboll discussing eminent domain and pipeline easements for forest landowners, to Corrigan on Friday discussing grazing leases, water law, and generational transfer.  Each stop had an outstanding turn out and great participants who were engaged and interested in the topics.  Folks like that make my job more fun!  A big thanks to all of… Read More →

Registration Open for the American Agricultural Law Association Annual Symposium

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Attention to all you agricultural attorneys out there! The American Agricultural Law Association will be holding our annual AALA symposium in Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 19-21, 2014.  I’ve been attending this CLE for 5 years now and always find it very informative and a great opportunity to meet with ag attorneys from across the country. I am a member of the planning committee and can tell you that there are great sessions and presenters planned for the program, including topics like The 2014 Farm Bill, Water Law Hot… Read More →

Compensation Considerations When Pipeline Companies Cross Your Land

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The Texas Tribune recently published an article titled Pipeline Companies Paying More to Cross Private Land.  Due to the number of pipeline projects going on across the state right now, as well as recent jury verdicts favorable for landowners, it is important for landowners to be aware of various compensation ideas to consider if a pipeline seeks to obtain an easement across their property.   I recently published a thorough pipeline easement negotiation checklist to assist landowners in all aspects of negotiation, available here. There are several important factors to consider when determining… Read More →

August 8, 2014 Weekly Round Up

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It has been another busy week for me.  On Monday I was in Dallas speaking at the noon meeting of the Dallas Agricultural Club, the oldest agricultural club in Texas (founded in 1925) on current hot topics in agricultural law.  It was a great group who asked wonderful questions.  On Wednesday I was able to speak during the Ag Business Management Section at the Texas A&M University Beef Cattle Short Course on pipeline easement negotiations.  This is my second year speaking at Short Course and once again I found… Read More →