On February 24, the Texas Supreme Court issued its opinion in ExxonMobil Corporation v. Lazy R Ranch, LP, et al., No. 15-0270. ExxonMobil v. Lazy R Ranch The 8-0 opinion was authored by Chief Justice Nathan Hecht. The case provides important reminders to landowners who have oil and gas operations on their property.
In 2008, Exxon sold its lease on the Lazy R Ranch, a 20,000-acre ranch near Monahans, where it had conducted operations for almost 60 years. The ranch owners hired an environmental engineer to investigate whether Exxon’s operations had caused contamination that should be remediated. The investigator found four sites with contamination and warned that the contamination could threaten groundwater. Exxon refused to remediate the sites, and the landowner sued.
The suit sought monetary damages for the contamination and injunctive relief to require Exxon to remediate the four contaminated sites. Exxon filed a summary judgment motion arguing that the claims were barred by limitations. The trial court granted Exxon’s motion. The 8th Court of Appeals reversed and remanded. Continue reading →