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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

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

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

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 Louisiana Legislature passed “Act 312,” La. R.S. 30:29, in 2006 to provide a procedure for ensuring that amounts awarded to remediate environmental damage are actually spent on remediation.  Act 312 sets forth a multi-step scheme that is triggered once a party is found responsible for environmental damage, culminating with Department of Natural Resources (“DNR”) approving a plan “to evaluate or remediate” the environmental damage. La. R.S. 30:29(C)(2)(a). Thereafter the trial court “shall adopt the plan approved by the [DNR] unless another party proves by a preponderance of the evidence that another plan is more feasible,” id. 30:29(C)(5). 
Continue Reading Third Circuit Affirms Trial Court’s Refusal to Adopt DNR’s Most Feasible Plan in Sweet Lake Land & Oil Co. v. Oleum Operating Company

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

In Guilbeau v. Hess Corporation, the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the application of Louisiana’s subsequent purchaser doctrine to bar a plaintiff’s claims for property damage resulting from alleged oilfield contamination that occurred prior to his purchase of the property.  The court specifically rejected the plaintiff’s attempt to characterize the multitude of relevant Louisiana appellate court rulings as a “mishmash of appellate jurisprudence,” noting instead that “a clear consensus has emerged among all Louisiana appellate courts that have considered the issue.”
Continue Reading U.S. Fifth Circuit Affirms Application of the Subsequent Purchaser Doctrine in Oilfield Contamination Case, Recognizes “Clear Consensus” Among Louisiana Appellate Courts, and Declines Certification to the Louisiana Supreme Court

The first of 40 coastal permitting lawsuits to proceed to disposition has been dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

In a ruling released today, Judge Enright of the 24th JDC for Jefferson Parish dismissed The Parish of Jefferson v. Atlantic Richfield Company, finding that the statutory scheme at issue provided administrative channels to investigate and resolve alleged permit violations, and thus those remedies must be exhausted before the plaintiffs could pursue civil damages through the courts.
Continue Reading First Parish Coastal Zone Lawsuit to Proceed to Decision Falls for Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies

In the watershed Corbello[1] decision, the Louisiana Supreme Court affirmed a $33 million award—the cost to restore property valued at $108,000 to its “original condition” after it was damaged by oil and gas operations.  If Corbello pressed the accelerator on “legacy” litigation, Eagle Pipe tapped the brakes.
Continue Reading Tightening the Timeline for Original Condition: the First Circuit Denies Writ from Ruling Applying Subsequent Purchaser Doctrine to Dismiss Claims Against a Mineral Servitude Owner