Archives: Litigation

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Forum Shopping Curtailed: Venue Limited to Parish Where Drilling Rig Was Lost

In a May 4, 2016 opinion, Louisiana’s Third Circuit Court of Appeal made clear that venue was not proper in Concordia Parish—where plaintiff filed suit for damages resulting from the loss of its drilling rig in LaSalle Parish—because:  (1) the tortious conduct allegedly occurred and damages from the loss of the drilling rig were sustained … Continue Reading

Fracking Scores with Two Colorado Supreme Court Opinions

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a hotly debated topic in many states.  In New York and Pennsylvania, anti-fracking groups have obtained a statewide ban on fracking and the allowance of local authority to regulate fracking, respectively.  Texas, however, has enacted a state law expressly preempting local authority over a number of drilling activities.  In March … Continue Reading

Louisiana Appellate Court Unanimously Dismisses Cross-Appeals in Legacy Case

Louisiana appellate court unanimously dismisses cross-appeals in legacy case, finding that the trial court improperly designated partial summary judgment rulings as final under Article 1915 of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure.             In Spanish Lake Restoration, LLC v. Shell Oil Company, et al., the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal recently dismissed cross-appeals taken … Continue Reading

New Developments in the Determination of the Texas Franchise Tax Liability

The Texas Franchise Tax is imposed on taxable entities that do business in Texas or that are chartered or organized in the state.  Taxpayers subject to the Texas Franchise Tax may compute their tax liabilities under several alternative methods to determine which one results in the lowest amount of tax due. One such method is … Continue Reading

Production in Paying Quantities: Second Circuit Holds Lower Courts Must Consider All Relevant Factors, Not Just Profit

Since this blog’s post on production in paying quantities on January 26, 2016, the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal rendered its latest decision on the subject in Middleton v. EP Energy E&P Co., L.P., 50,300-CA (La. App. 2d Cir. 2/3/16).  While not particularly groundbreaking, Middleton does provide further guidance to mineral lessees and litigators … Continue Reading

Clean Power Plan: The Legal Battle Continues

The group of petitioners challenging the EPA rules imposing strict limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants filed its opening briefs on Friday, February 19.  The lawsuit, West Virginia v. EPA (D.C. Cir. No. 15-1363) is unusual because of its sheer volume.  Petitioners include thirty States, State agencies, and local government entities and … Continue Reading

Production in Paying Quantities: Maintaining Mineral Leases Beyond Their Primary Terms with Production of Oil or Gas

The sharp decline in oil prices over the past year and a half has had a significant impact on operators and mineral lessees in Louisiana and in other oil-producing states.  Mineral lessees may be particularly concerned with whether recent production levels have maintained their leases beyond their primary terms. In Louisiana, as in most jurisdictions, … Continue Reading

Appellate Review of Downhole Cases: The Supreme Court Repairs the Third Circuit’s Broken Manifest Error Standard in Hayes Fund for the First United Methodist Church of Welsh, LLC v. Kerr-McGee Rocky Mt., LLC, 149 So. 3d 280 (La. App. 3 Cir. 10/01/14)

The Louisiana Supreme Court recently issued a decision in a downhole damages case, reversing the Third Circuit’s misguided application of the manifest error standard of review. Hayes Fund for the First United Methodist Church of Welsh, LLC v. Kerr-McGee Rocky Mt., LLC, No. 2014-C-2592, 2015 La. LEXIS 2530 (La. 2015). The dispute arose out of … Continue Reading

Texas Appeals Court Rules Assignee Retains All Acreage Covered by Assignment Under Retained-Acreage Clause

In yet another “retained-acreage” dispute, the Amarillo Court of Appeals recently ruled that an assignee was entitled to retain all acreage covered by the assignment of four leases, where the assignment’s retained-acreage clause invoked the maximum acreage prescribed by the applicable field rules governing proration units, and, in the absence of any such field rules, … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Rejects EPA’s Overreaching on CAA and MBTA

Background The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion regarding criminal liability under environmental statutes.  United States v. Citgo Petroleum Corp., et al., No. 14-40128, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15865 (5th Cir. Sept. 4, 2015).  In what may be considered a warning shot to overzealous federal prosecutors looking to obtain criminal convictions … Continue Reading

U.S. Fifth Circuit Limits Vessels’ Obligations Under Louisiana One-Call Reporting

A panel of the United States Fifth Circuit consisting of Chief Judge Stewart and Judges Jolly and Graves recently issued a per curiam opinion regarding the effect of the Louisiana Underground Utilities and Facilities Protection Law (the “Louisiana One-Call Statute”). Plains Pipeline, L.P. et al. v. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., et al., No. … Continue Reading

Texas Court Rules Lease’s Retained Acreage Clause Incorporates Drilling Unit Size of Statewide Density Rule 38, ConocoPhillips Must Release 15,351 Acres to Lessor

A Texas appeals court recently ruled in ConocoPhillips Company v. Vaquillas Unproven Minerals, Ltd. that a lease’s retained acreage clause invoked the Texas Railroad Commission’s field spacing rule as well as the statewide drilling unit rule, Rule 38, which operated to reduce the acreage the lessee was permitted to retain under the lease from 640 … Continue Reading

The Supreme Court’s Adopted Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: A Welcome Emphasis on Cooperative Case Management and Cost-Effective Discovery

On April 29, 2015, the United States Supreme Court adopted the long anticipated amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  Pending Congressional review, the amendments will become law on December 1, 2015.  Together, the adopted amendments evidence the Court’s emphasis on promoting cooperative case management and reducing the delays and considerable costs often associated … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Holds Producer Not Required to Share in Natural Gas Pipeline Compression Costs

In Kachina Pipeline Company, Inc. v. Lillis, No. 13-0596, the Supreme Court of Texas interpreted a natural gas-purchase contract and held that a producer was not required to share in the costs of compression, even though that compression helped yield a higher re-sale price. Whether this decision narrowly reflects the language of one specific contract … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Says You Can’t Disclaim Your Heritage, But Maybe You Can Ignore It

Like the final season of ABC’s hit series Lost, the Texas Supreme Court’s opinion in Chesapeake Exploration, L.L.C. v. Hyder, No. 14-0302, was highly anticipated, but left many of us scratching our heads.  The 5-4 decision, authored by Justice Hecht, is the latest in a series of cases from high courts across the country addressing … Continue Reading

Louisiana Supreme Court Denies Plaintiff’s Writ Application in a Move That Will Impact Oil & Gas Legacy Cases

By: Joe Norman, Kelly Becker, James Lapeze, and Kathryn Gonski Recently the Louisiana Supreme Court handed down a ruling that has significant implications on the oil and gas industry in the state. The Court denied the Plaintiff-landowner’s writ application which sought review of a Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal opinion that affirmed dismissal of the landowner’s claims … Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Texas Clarifies How to Prove Lost Value

By Andrew Wooley On May 8, 2015, the Supreme Court of Texas held in Phillips v. Carlton Energy Group, LLC[1]/ that an expert witness’s pre-suit evaluations of a coal bed methane concession in Bulgaria and his and another expert’s opinion testimony at trial were too speculative to support a jury’s damage finding for tortious interference related … Continue Reading

BP Victory in Legacy Case Becomes Final

In a legacy case defended by Liskow & Lewis, the Louisiana Supreme Court recently denied Plaintiff-landowners’ writ application seeking review of an opinion of the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal that affirmed a unanimous jury verdict in favor of BP. Houssiere v. ASCO USA, 12-791 (La. App. 3 Cir. 1/16/13), 108 So. 3d 797. … Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Texas Revises Opinion in Pipeline Common-Carrier Case

By Carlos Moreno: The Supreme Court of Texas recently delivered a revised opinion discussing the power of eminent domain exercised by a common carrier CO2 pipeline. In Texas Rice Land Partners, LTD v. Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas, LLC, No. 09-0901, 2012 Tex. LEXIS 187 (Tex. Mar. 2, 2012), the Court was asked if a landowner can challenge … Continue Reading

Texas Court Upholds Temporary Injunction, Finds Cash in Lieu of Bond Meets Statutory Requirements

By Marie Carlisle: The principle issue addressed in Adobe Oilfield Services v. Trilogy Operating, Inc., No. 11-09-00162-CV (Tex. App.—Eastland January 29, 2010), involves the granting of a temporary injunction to prevent the filing of liens against oil wells. Trilogy entered into contracts with Adobe to drill six wells. Trilogy paid Adobe’s invoices for the first five wells, … Continue Reading
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