Category Archives: Contracts

“If one asks why agreements should be memorialized in writing, this case illustrates why.”

“If one asks why agreements should be memorialized in writing, this case illustrates why.”   With an opening sentence like that, I knew I had to write a blog post about the Amarillo Court of Appeals’ decision in Kongvongsay v. Sayasane.  Although it is not related to agricultural property, the lessons learned are still important for all landowners, sellers, and purchasers. Background In September 2012, Sayasane and Kongvongsay entered into an oral agreement that Sayasane would buy a commercial building in Amarillo from Kongvongsay for $110,000.  Sayasane made a… Read More →

Case Addresses Requirements to Exercise Right of First Refusal

An El Paso Court of Appeals case, Mr. W Fireworks, Inc. v. NRZ Investment Group, LLC, offers important information for anyone seeking to exercise a right of first refusal. [Read opinion here.] (If you’ve been here for a while, you may remember this is not Mr. W’s first case this year involving problems with a right of first refusal.  Click here to read about a case in the Panhandle from last year.) Background  This case involves a lease between landowner, Nathan Lee, and Mr. W Fireworks, Inc. (“Mr…. Read More →

Case Explains Why Livestock Sales Contracts Should Be in Writing

The Texarkana Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion in Lee v. Jorgenson, which offers a critical reminder about the need to have all livestock sales contracts in writing. [Read opinion here.] Background Ralph Lee sold Waygu cattle to TJ’s Land and Cattle Company, LLC, (“the LLC”) of which Tom Jorgenson was a member.  Lee alleges this was a “handshake deal” that was memorialized in a Cattle Purchase Agreement (“CPA”).  The CPA was not signed by Jorgenson or anyone representing the LLC, but did include price terms for Waygu… Read More →

Case Offers Important Reminder that Real Estate Contracts Must Be in Writing

A recent Ft. Worth Court of Appeals case, In the Estate of Terry Lynn Banta, Deceased, offers an important reminder of why it is critical to have any contracts regarding the purchase of real estate in writing.  [Read Opinion here.] Statute of Frauds This case revolves around the “statute of frauds.” Generally speaking, a verbal contract is enforceable under Texas law.  There are certain types of contracts, however, that are required to be in writing to be legally enforceable pursuant to the statute of frauds.  One such contract for which… Read More →

Rights of First Refusal and the Importance of Record Notice

A right of first refusal can be a good way to ensure a person has an option to purchase property before it is sold to another.  However, as the Amarillo Court of Appeals recently considered in Mr. W. Fireworks, Inc. v. 731 Properties, LLC, certain steps must be taken to ensure enforceability of this right.  [Read opinion here.] Background Mr. W Fireworks, Inc. (“Mr. W”) owns fireworks stands across Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.  One of its stands is on Soncy Road in Amarillo on land that it leased… Read More →

Force Majeure

It is rare seemingly obscure phrases from law school find their way to the news, but recently, that was the case with the phrase “force majeure.” When Bayer announced it would be declaring force majeure in contracts related to glyphosate, there were many questions about what these words meant and the legal impact of a force majeure clause in a contract. Emily Unglesbee from DTN Progressive Farmer interviewed me on this topic and wrote a great article offering the details about force majeure clauses in contracts. To read… Read More →

Case Addresses Mineral Reservation Language Dispute

The Austin Court of Appeals recently addressed the issue of mineral reservation in a deed in Ross v. Flower, offering important reminders for Texas landowners and property purchasers. Background This case revolves around the interpretation of a paragraph in a deed for 20-acres of land in Fayette County. In 1999, the Rosses owned the surface and mineral interests for the 20-acre tract at issue.  In April 1999, the Rosses executed a General Warranty Deed conveying the property to Richard & Patricia Church.  Specifically, the Deed stated that the… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Addresses Whether Emails Constitute a Contract

In 2020, the Texas Supreme Court decided two cases related to an important question:  Can a series of emails constitute a legally binding, written contract as required by the Statute of Frauds?  Today, we will look at one of these cases, Copano Energy, LLC v. Bujnoch. Given the prevalence of email in today’s society, this case offers important lessons to keep in mind. Background Plaintiffs own land in Lavaca and Dewitt Counties.  In 2011, they granted 30′ easements to Copano for the construction, operation, and maintenance of a… Read More →

July 10, 2020 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  We are looking at a high of 108 today in the Texas Panhandle.  I hope you are all staying cool and healthy. Here are some of the agricultural law stories in the news over the past week. *Texas Wildlife Association Annual Convention available online.  The Texas Wildlife Association has curated a wonderful annual convention and has posted every session online, available to anyone, for free!  This includes my 30 minute presentation on landowner liability, which you can watch by clicking here. *USDA seeks comment on potential… Read More →

April 3, 2020 Weekly Round Up

Here is a list of some of the recent agricultural law stories in the news. *Montana Court upholds constitutionality of beef checkoff.  The biggest story of the last couple of weeks was a trial court ruling in the beef checkoff litigation.  The United States District Court for the District of Montana found in favor of USDA and the Montana Beef Council, holding that the advertising and promotional speech of the Montana Beef Council (and similar organizations in 14 other states) constituted government speech given USDA oversight.  Thus, the… Read More →