The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) recently released its 2023 draft Coastal Master Plan, which is required by law to be updated every six years. The most recent draft is the fourth update since it was first adopted by the Louisiana Legislature in 2007 following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
Fifth Circuit Allows Landowners’ Tort Claim Against Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to Move Forward
In a recent decision, the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals remanded to state court a case brought by landowners against the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (“LDEQ”) and several past and present owners and operators of an industrial facility (“Facility Defendants”), finding that LDEQ was not improperly joined, and therefore the case could…
Louisiana First Circuit Applies Subsequent Purchaser Doctrine to Property Transfer Involving Closely Held LLC
The subsequent purchaser doctrine has been litigated extensively in Louisiana legacy cases involving claims for oilfield remediation. The doctrine provides that a current landowner has no standing to bring a lawsuit for property damage that occurred prior to its acquisition absent a valid assignment from the prior landowner of the personal right to sue. However, until now, no appellate court had addressed whether the doctrine barred a claim brought by a closely held or family-owned company who acquired the property in an intra-family transfer. In Louisiana Wetlands, LLC v. Energen Resources Corporation, 2021-0290 (La. App. 1 Cir. 10/4/21), 2021 WL 4548529, —So. 3d—, the Louisiana First Circuit answered this question in the affirmative, holding that the subsequent purchaser doctrine applies to property transfers from family members to a company which they also own.
Continue Reading Louisiana First Circuit Applies Subsequent Purchaser Doctrine to Property Transfer Involving Closely Held LLC
Overturning 8 Years of “Palpable Error,” The Louisiana Supreme Court Limits Damages Available to Landowners in Oilfield Legacy Litigation
On June 30, 2021, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued an opinion redefining the nature of available damages and the “actual, statutorily permitted role of the jury in Act 312 remediation lawsuits.” The “LL&E II” decision finds that Act 312 charges the court, not the jury, to determine the funding needed to remediate property to government standards. If (and only if) an express contractual provision requires greater remediation than government standards, a jury may consider and award such “excess remediation” damages. State of Louisiana v. Louisiana Land and Exploration Co., 2020-00685 (La. 6/30/2021); — So. 3d — (“LL&E II”).
Continue Reading Overturning 8 Years of “Palpable Error,” The Louisiana Supreme Court Limits Damages Available to Landowners in Oilfield Legacy Litigation
Louisiana First Circuit Reaffirms Prescription and Subsequent Purchaser Principles
In Lexington Land Development, L.L.C. v. Chevron Pipelines Company, et al., 2020-0622 (La. App. 1 Cir. 5/25/21), 2021 WL 2102932, —So. 3d—, the Louisiana First Circuit recently reaffirmed well-settled principles regarding prescription and the subsequent purchaser doctrine in Louisiana legacy cases.
Continue Reading Louisiana First Circuit Reaffirms Prescription and Subsequent Purchaser Principles
Future Outlook for Subsurface Trespass Claims Against Third Party Purchasers of Minerals
A recent decision from the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal may have lasting effects on good faith purchasers of oil. In Hill v. TMR Exploration, Inc, 2021 WL 267916, the First Circuit affirmed a district court ruling on summary judgment applying the good faith purchaser defense provision set forth in La. Civ. Code…
United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Finds That Louisiana Citizen Suit Legacy Claims Can be Heard in Federal Court
In its recent decision in Grace Ranch, L.L.C. v. BP America Production Company, et al., No. 20-30224 (5th Cir. Feb. 24, 2021), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit addressed a question that has increasingly become a sticking point in Louisiana “legacy” cases: whether claims brought under a Louisiana citizen suit…
Is the Frequency of Louisiana Environmental Quality Act Citizen Suit Litigation Increasing?
In 2003, the Louisiana Supreme Court rendered its landmark decision in Corbello, et al. v. Iowa Production, et al. Since then, Louisiana courts have seen a steady stream of “legacy litigation” claims being filed. Legacy litigation claims generally concern alleged contamination arising from historic oil and gas operations under theories of both breach of
Louisiana Third Circuit Confirms Settled Application of Subsequent Purchaser Doctrine Where Expired Mineral Leases at Issue
As it “is impossible to transfer rights to an assignee under an expired mineral lease,” in a case where oil, gas and mineral leases had expired prior to plaintiff’s acquisition of the property, the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal in Litel Explorations, L.L.C. v. Aegis Development Company, L.L.C., et al. affirmed dismissal of claims pursuant to the subsequent purchaser doctrine, which provides that the right to sue for property damage is a personal right that belongs to the landowner who owned the property at the time the damage occurred, unless the right has been explicitly assigned or subrogated to the subsequent purchaser of the land.
Continue Reading Louisiana Third Circuit Confirms Settled Application of Subsequent Purchaser Doctrine Where Expired Mineral Leases at Issue
Louisiana Supreme Court Grants UNOCAL’s Writ Application from Third Circuit Decision Involving Prescription and Breach of Contract in Act 312 Case
On October 6, 2020, the Louisiana Supreme Court granted a writ application filed by UNOCAL in State of Louisiana, et al. v. Louisiana Land & Exploration Co., et al. This application sought review of the Louisiana Third Circuit’s decision that affirmed the Vermilion Parish School Board’s authority to sue on behalf of the state, rejected a prescription defense on the basis of prescription immunity under the Louisiana Constitution, and found that “environmental damage” as defined under Act 312 is sufficient to trigger a breach of contract claim. A detailed summary of the Third Circuit’s decision can be found here.
Continue Reading Louisiana Supreme Court Grants UNOCAL’s Writ Application from Third Circuit Decision Involving Prescription and Breach of Contract in Act 312 Case