By Matt Simone
In Broussard v. Hilcorp Energy Co., the Louisiana Supreme Court held that a plaintiff is not required, pursuant to Article 136 of the Louisiana Mineral Code, to provide a defendant with pre-suit written notice and an opportunity to perform prior to a judicial demand for property restoration related to oil and gas production contamination. Article 136 mandates these requirements for claims “arising from drainage of the property leased or from any other claim that the lessee has failed to develop and operate the property leased as a prudent operator….” The defendants argued that Article 136’s requirements should apply to any claim alleging that a lessee failed to act as a prudent operator. The court rejected the defendants’ position noting that the plain language of Article 136 is limited to claims regarding drainage of property or failure to develop and operate leased property. Since this case essentially involved a remediation/restoration claim, the court found that Article 136’s pre-suit requirements were inapplicable.
To read the case, go to http://www.lasc.org/news_releases/2009/2009-064.asp