Articles Posted in accommodation doctrine

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The El Paso Court of Appeals tangled with the accommodation doctrine in Lyle v. Midway Solar, LLC, No. 08-19-00216-CV, and the mineral owner lost.

The Lyles own a 27.5% mineral interest in 315 acres in Pecos County. Gary Drgac owns the surface. Drgac leased the 315 acres to Midway Solar for a solar farm. Midway constructed its solar array, leaving 17 acres on the south end and 80 acres on the north end for “Designated Drill Sites.” Midway did not get a surface waiver from the Lyles. The solar array covers 70% of the surface above the Lyles’ mineral estate.

https://www.oilandgaslawyerblog.com/files/2019/12/Lyle-v.-Midway-Solar.jpg

 

Top-TenThe Lyles sued Midway for trespass and breach of contract. The breach of contract claim was based on the language in the deed that reserved the mineral interest owned by the Lyles. It provided that the Grantors reserve “the right to such use of the surface estate in the lands as may be usual, necessary or convenient in the use and enjoyment of the oil, gas and general mineral estate ….” It also provided that Grantors would never be liable to Grantees for any damage or injury to the surface estate by reason of such use. The trespass claim was based on the theory that Midway’s use deprived the Lyles of the right to use the land under its solar array and therefore trespassed on the Lyle’s right to use the surface estate of that land. Continue reading →

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Plaintiffs Kenneth Lyle and Linda Morrison have appealed the dismissal of their suit against Midway Solar to the El Paso Court of Appeals, No. 08-19-00216-CV. Lyle and Morrison own the minerals under 315 acres in Pecos County. Midway Solar has constructed a solar farm on 215 of those acres. https://www.oilandgaslawyerblog.com/files/2019/12/Lyle-v.-Midway-Solar.jpg

TexasBarToday_TopTen_Badge_SmallTypically, a solar developer will obtain surface-use waivers from mineral owners before building a facility. Midway did not do that. Instead, it set aside portions of the 315 acres, on the north and south ends of the property, to allow for development of the minerals by directional drilling.

Lyle and Morrison contend their minerals are not susceptible to development by directional or horizontal drilling, because of the subsurface geology. They say 70% of their tract cannot be developed for minerals.  Their minerals are not now leased and there are no plans to drill wells. There has been production from wells in the vicinity.

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