Category Archives: Texas Supreme Court Decisions

2022 Ag Law Year in Review – Texas

Each year, I am surprised by the number of agricultural law developments across Texas. This year is no exception, and I believe it may be the biggest year for agricultural law that I can remember in the Lone Star state.  If you missed our review of the biggest ag law stories on the national level, click here.   High Speed Rail Has Eminent Domain Authority The Texas Supreme Court issued a divided opinion in Miles v. Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure holding that Texas Central Railroad has the power… Read More →

Did the Life Estate Conveyance Include the Minerals?

In 2020, the Texas Supreme Court issued its opinion in ConocoPhillips Co. v. Ramirez, 599 S.W.3d 296 (Tex. 2020), a case involving the interpretation of a life estate and whether the creation of the life estate applied only to the surface interest, or to the minerals as well. Background  Ildefonzo Ramirez died in 1941. He left his two children, Leon Juan and Felicidad, a total of 7,016 acres in Zapata County. Not all tracts of the estate were contiguous. Months after Ildefonzo’s death, the two siblings partitioned the surface… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Upholds Law Prohibiting Processing & Manufacturing of Smokable Hemp in Texas

The Texas Supreme Court recently found that the Texas Constitution does not protect a person’s right to process and manufacture smokable hemp in Texas.  [Read Opinion here.] Background The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act and defined it as an agricultural product. The bill allowed each state to determine whether hemp would be allowed and how it would be regulated within its own borders. States electing to create a hemp-regulation plan were required to submit it to the USDA for approval.  The Texas… Read More →

July 8, 2022 Weekly Round Up

We’ve made it to July!  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks. *Texas Supreme Court rules Texas Central Railroad has eminent domain authority for high speed rail project.  In a 6-3 ruling, the Texas Supreme Court has found that Texas Central Railroad does have eminent domain authority for its high speed rail project from Dallas to Houston. [Find opinions here.]  I’ll have a full blog post breaking down this decision next week.  In the next month, I’ll also… Read More →

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 →