October 4, 2013 Weekly Round Up

**This article is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.**

I spent this week traveling across Texas for various presentations and meetings.  I enjoyed the chance to speak to the Texas Chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers in Wichita Falls  about current water legislation and litigation on Monday and to a group of landowners in Jack County about eminent domain and pipeline easement negotiations on Tuesday evening.  To those of you who are new to the blog from those events, welcome!  Here are a few ag law stories making the news this week.

Government Shut Down.  The Delta Farm Press published an article this week outlining the impact of the government shut down on agriculture.  You can read that here.

Blocking Gas Wells with Water Wells?  An interesting case was filed last week in West Virginia when a landowner who leased the mineral rights to an oil and gas company, but then drilled water wells on his land that essentially prevented the oil company from drilling planned gas wells due to spacing requirements.  The oil and gas company filed suit seeking an injunction to require the landowners to plug and abandon the water well so that they could go forward with drilling gas wells pursuant to the mineral lease that they hold. [Read article here.]

Agritourism Article.  The Southwest Farm Press ran an interesting article about agritourism in Texas.  The article discusses different types of agritourism and the potential for making additional income from these types of activities.  Importantly, the article also outlines many of the liability issues that come along with running an agritourism enterprise.  Before beginning any agritourism activity on your land, it is critical that you secure adequate liability insurance and seek legal counsel to ensure that you are protected.

Vicious Horses?  In the Connecticut Supreme Court, a battle is taking place over whether horses should be legally considered to be innately vicious animals.  When a boy was bitten on the face by a horse at a Connecticut stable, his parents brought suit on his behalf.  The Connecticut Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and found that horses were innately vicious animals.  This one ruling could have a significant impact on horse owners in Connecticut as it may make it extraordinarily expensive or impossible to insure horses.  No other state has found horses to fall into this category.  [Read article here.]

Photo via Leslie Carter, New Mexico

Florida v. Georgia Case Filed.  A prior blog post in August mentioned that Florida’s governor announced that the state would file a lawsuit related to a water dispute against Georgia.  That suit was filed this week in the United States Supreme Court.  Specifically, Florida has requested that the United States Supreme Court grant it the right to file its Complaint asking the Court to apportion the waters of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin.  Florida claims that Georgia’s increased diversion and pumping of both surface water and the hydrologically connected groundwater is lessening flows of water into Florida.  Once briefing on this Motion as been completed, the Court will decide whether to hear the case.  [Read Motion for Leave here.]



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