In January of this year, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania tackled an issue that has been confronted by few other courts—whether the rule of capture precludes a claim for subsurface trespass due to hydraulic fracturing.[1]


Continue Reading Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Weighs in on Hydraulic Fracturing and Subsurface Trespass

This article was updated on April 14, 2020.

Day-to-day life has been dramatically impacted by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and many courts in Louisiana and Texas have been forced to close or limit operations in conjunction with stay-at-home orders.  A brief discussion of how COVID-19 has affected Louisiana and Texas courts is discussed here.


Continue Reading Louisiana and Texas COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Orders and Effects on State Courts

While oil and gas company-defendants—and several courts alike—have deemed the applicability of the subsequent purchaser doctrine to mineral leases a settled issue of law, plaintiff-landowners have continued to argue otherwise.  In a unanimous opinion issued July 18, 2018 in Grace Ranch, LLC v. BP America Production Company, et al., the Third Circuit not only provides yet another example of the uniform application of the doctrine in cases involving mineral rights under Louisiana law, but expressly and thoroughly rejects the numerous arguments on which plaintiffs-landowners have continued to rely.
Continue Reading Louisiana’s Third Circuit (Again) Affirms the Applicability of the Subsequent Purchaser Doctrine to Mineral Leases

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently issued a significant opinion in a case in which a takings claim was asserted to redress Hurricane Katrina-related flood damage.  On April 20, 2018, it reversed a decision of the United States Court of Federal Claims (“Claims Court”), which had held the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers liable under the Tucker Act for flood damage to the Plaintiffs’ properties.

In 1968, the Corps completed construction of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (“MRGO”) in New Orleans.  The purpose of this navigation channel was to increase commerce between the port of New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico.  Around the same time, Congress authorized funding for flood control through the Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Protection Project (“LPV”).  This project was instituted to reduce the risk of flooding in New Orleans, and it resulted in the construction of levees and floodwalls along the banks of MRGO.
Continue Reading Federal Circuit Holds U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Not Liable for Hurricane Katrina Flood Damage

In a decision announced this week, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality and method of compensation for the expropriation by a governmental body of property owned by an ongoing commercial venture.   In St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District v. Violet Dock Port, Inc., LLC, the St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District (the “Port”), a government-owned public cargo facility, sought to expand its operations along the Mississippi River. The Port unsuccessfully negotiated the purchase of 75 acres of property owned by Violet Dock Port, Inc., LLC (the “Landowner”) which utilized the property to layberth and service oceangoing ships for the United States Navy.  The Port subsequently expropriated the property under the quick-take expropriation provisions of LA. R.S. 19:141, et seq., for a purported compensation of $16 million. 
Continue Reading Louisiana Supreme Court Upholds Expropriation of Commercial Venture

In July 2017, Weyerhaeuser Company, a Louisiana landowner and timber lessee, filed a Petition for a writ of certiorari asking the United States Supreme Court to overturn the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“FWS”) designation of private land in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana as “critical habitat” for the endangered dusky gopher frog.  The FWS made this “critical habitat” designation under the Endangered Species Act.  Weyerhaeuser Company argues that the property has not been a habitat for the gopher frog since the 1960s, the land lacks certain habitat features for the gopher frog to survive in the area, and the designation drastically reduces the value of the property by preventing certain commercial development projects.  (A prior article posted on The Energy Law Blog discussing the Petitioner’s writ of certiorari is available here).
Continue Reading The Dusky Gopher Frog is Heading to the United States Supreme Court

In Chauvin v. Shell Oil Company, the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment of the trial court granting summary judgment to defendants on Plaintiffs’ trespass action.  In doing so, the Fifth Circuit made clear that to succeed on a trespass claim when the contracts at issue are ambiguous, parole evidence from the plaintiffs’ experts and the plaintiffs themselves should be consistent with ownership.
Continue Reading (Plaintiffs Claiming) Trespass Beware

A recent decision from the Eastern District of Louisiana provides a mixed bag for pipeline companies or others whose operations involve canals.  Significantly, the decision from Judge Milazzo holds that during the existence of a right-of-way/servitude, Louisiana servitude law imposes a continuing duty to prevent canals from expanding and widening over time, unless unambiguous contractual language allows otherwise.
Continue Reading Federal Court Finds A Continuing Duty Under Louisiana Law To Prevent The Erosion of Pipeline Canals

With oil prices still far below their highs of a few years ago, many energy companies—some of which expanded rapidly when oil was north of $100 a barrel—now find themselves with more office space than they can reasonably use (or even afford).  In order to mitigate their lease exposure, these companies are looking to sublease a portion of their office space.

As of Q1 2017, there are approximately 10.8 million square feet of office space available for sublease in the Greater Houston area.  Of that total, approximately forty-two percent (42%) is located in West Houston, including in the Energy Corridor (20%), Westchase (12%) and West Belt (7%) markets.[1]
Continue Reading Often Overlooked Sublease Issues For Office Tenants

If a subcontractor or supplier on a Louisiana construction project is not paid in full, it can file a lien against the owner’s property and sue the owner for payment even though it did not contract with the owner and even if the owner has fully paid the general contractor.  This can occur on any project involving any physical change to real property in Louisiana.  See La. Rev. Stat. §  9:4808(A).
Continue Reading Thinking About Improving Your Louisiana Facility? Follow These Steps or Risk Unlimited Lien Liability Under Louisiana’s Private Works Act