Category Archives: Texas Supreme Court Decisions

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 Garcia v. Pruski 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 →

Texas Supreme Court Rules in Subsurface Trespass Case

Where an oil and gas production company seeks to drill a  horizontal well through the mineral interest of another, in order to produce oil and gas from a lease held by the driller, does trespass occur?  Since 2014, we have been following the Lightning Oil Company v. Anadarko case through various levels of the Texas court system, which involves this very question.  Last week, the Texas Supreme Court issued a decision upholding the lower court opinions in the case and making clear that in this situation, trespass does not… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Holds RRC Does Not Have Exclusive Jurisdiction Over Contamination Claims

The Texas Supreme Court issued an important ruling a couple of weeks ago in Forest Oil Corp. v. El Rucio Land and Cattle Company.  [Read full opinion here.]  This case addresses important issues regarding a landowner’s right to sue an oil and gas company for contamination on his or her property and offers a good reminder that parties agreeing to arbitration need to carefully consider and understand what rights they give up in making that agreement. Background James McAllen owns the McAllen Ranch, consisting of over 27,000 acres.  The… Read More →

February 3, 2017 Weekly Round Up

I’m not quite sure how we are already a month into 2017, but here we are.  In the last couple of weeks I have traveled to speak at Extension meetings in Dumas and Lubbock.  Welcome to those of you joining from those meetings! Here are some of the ag law stories in the news. *10 Texas oil and gas cases to watch.  Chris Halgren compiled a list of 10 Texas Supreme Court cases dealing with oil and gas law worth watching in 2017.  His post provides a short… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Issues Ruling in Denbury Green

Although the Texas Supreme Court decision in Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas, LLC v. Texas Rice Land Partners, Ltd. has put an end to the litigation, there are a number of unanswered questions and potential issues that remain in the opinion’s aftermath.  [Read full opinion here.]  This case will continue to have serious impacts on landowners and pipeline companies dealing with the use of eminent domain in Texas. Factual Background When the Denbury Green Pipeline project planned to build a C02 pipeline from Missisippi to Brazoria and Galveston Counties in Texas,… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Addresses Nuisance Law

Last week, the Texas Supreme Court issued its opinion in Crosstex North Texas Pipeline, L.P. v. Gardiner.  [Read full opinion here.]  In doing so, the Court took the much-needed opportunity to address and clarify the law of nuisance in Texas.  The 54-page opinion walks through a detailed discussion and analysis of nuisance law in Texas. Factual Background Crosstex operates a natural gas pipeline running from Tarrant County to Lamar County.  Along this route, in Denton County, Crosstex bought a 20 acre tract of land midway along the pipeline that… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court: Accommodation Doctrine Applies to Groundwater

On May 27, 2016, the Texas Supreme Court issued its opinion in Coyote Lake Ranch, LLC v. City of Lubbock.  Many Texas agricultural and water law attorneys were in Lubbock attending the State Bar of Texas Agricultural Law Continuing Legal Education Seminar.  As soon as the opinion was released, you should have seen everyone scurrying around! This case (on which I have previously blogged here) is extremely important for Texas landowners and groundwater owners.  For the first time, the Texas Supreme Court announced that the accommodation doctrine, previously applied… Read More →