Category Archives: Texas Supreme Court Decisions

June 10, 2022 Weekly Round Up

It’s been a bit since our last Weekly Round Up post, but we’re back! Part of the reason for the delay was a recent trip I took with my family to the Nugget All-American sheep show and sale in Reno, NV.  Because I’m a mom and bragging on our kids is what we do, I’m happy to report that both kiddos won banners.  Braun’s lamb was Reserve Supreme Champion Wether and Champion Dorset Wether and Harper’s lamb was Reserve Speck Wether.  My family also raised the Reserve Supreme… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Rules in Hlavinka v. HSC Pipeline

Last week, the Texas Supreme Court issued its opinion in Hlavinka v. HSC Pipeline.  [Read opinion here.] Background Plaintiffs (“Hlavinka”) own four tracts of land totaling 13,000 acres in Brazoria County, Texas.  Although the family uses the land for agriculture, Mr. Hlavinka testified his primary purpose for purchasing the property was to sell pipeline easements. The land has 25 pipeline easements on it. Mr. Hlavinka recently negotiated two such easements in arms’ length, private sales transactions, receiving $3.45 million and $2 million, respectively. HSC installed the pipeline at… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court: Courts, Not TCEQ, Determine Water Rights Ownership in Texas

The Texas Supreme Court issued its decision in Pape Partners, Ltd. v. DRR Family Properties, and in doing so, answered the question of whether it is the courts or the TCEQ that has jurisdiction over water rights ownership disputes in Texas.  [Read Opinion here.] Background Lola Robinson owned two pieces of property in McLennan County, the farm and an adjacent 250-acre tract of land.  In 1986, she obtained two water rights permits from the TCEQ to irrigate from the Brazos River for one of the farms.  The permits did… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Addresses Postproduction Costs

A recent Texas Supreme Court case, BlueStone Natural Resources II, LLC v. Randle, addressed a dispute over postproduction cost allocation for royalties.  I thought this Opinion offered a good explanation of postproduction costs generally, and comparison of the two clauses at issue in the leases, which made it worth taking a look at on this blog.  [Read Opinion here.] Background In 2003, several mineral owners (“lessors”) executed oil and gas leases with Quicksilver Resources.  Each of the leases contain a 2-page Printed Lease and an attached Addendum.  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 →

2020 Agricultural Law Year in Review – Texas

If you missed our National Year in Review post, click here.  I am not sure I can remember a year with more agricultural law-related opinions being issued by Texas appellate courts. From fence law to eminent domain, hemp to liability, here are some of the biggest legal stories of 2020 from the Lone Star State.   Dicamba Registration Vacated, New Registration Issued, Lawsuit Filed Although this is a national issue, and we addressed it in more detail on our National Year in Review post, because it had such… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Holds Farm Animal Liability Act Inapplicable to Ranchers & Ranch Hands

The Texas Supreme Court issued a divided opinion on a case involving the death of a ranch employee and determined the Farm Animal Liability Act does not apply to “ranchers and ranch hands.”  This interpretation limits the scope of the Act and is important for livestock owners to be aware of. [Read full opinion here.] Background The Waaks raise Charolais cattle in Fayette County.  In 2005, they hired Raul Zuniga to work part time with the cattle, landscaping, and cutting hay.  In 2008, he began working full-time for… Read More →

So Many New Opinions!

Over the last month, there have been a large number of agricultural-related opinions released here in Texas.  I plan to blog on each of these individually, but many of you have asked for some basic information about several of the opinions.  Today, I will be giving brief summaries of the cases and links to read the full opinions for those of you who may be interested in doing so.  Stay tuned over the next couple of months to see much deeper dives into the decisions in each of… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Reverses Ruling for Landowner in Easement Width Case

The Texas Supreme Court recently reversed two lower court decisions in Southwestern Electric Power Co. v. Lynch, involving a question of the allowable width of a general easement.  Although both the trial court and appellate court sided with the landowner and would limit the width of the easement, the Supreme Court disagreed and ruled in favor of the transmission line company, refusing to limit the allowable width of the general easement. Background Three landowners in Bowie County own land burdened by a utility easement held by Southwestern Electric… Read More →

TX Supreme Court Sides with Bull Owner in Fence Law Case

The Texas Supreme Court has issued an important opinion in a much-watched fence law case from Wilson County involving a collision between a vehicle and a bull.  The Pruski v. Garcia opinion is favorable for livestock owners in much of the state. [Read full opinion here.] Background Plaintiff, Mr. Garcia, was injured when his vehicle struck a bull on State Highway 123 in Wilson County.  Ms. Pruski (Defendant) owned property abutting the road that was enclosed by a six-strand barbed wire fence.  Pruski also owned the bull that escaped,… Read More →