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Texas Supreme Court Agrees to Consider Three Oil and Gas Cases

Last week the Texas Supreme Court agreed to hear three petitions for review of lower court opinions addressing oil and gas issues of interest to land and mineral owners.

BP America Production Co. v. Laddex Ltd., No. 15-0248

BP owned a lease that was granted in 1971 and was held by production from a single well. The mineral owners granted a top lease to Laddex, and Laddex sued BP contending that BP’s lease had expired for failure to produce in paying quantities. The jury found for Laddex, and the court of appeals affirmed. BP argues that the jury charge is faulty and that there is no evidence to support the jury’s answers; it also contends that Laddex’s top lease is void under the rule against perpetuities. Briefs of the parties are here. Oral argument October 11.

ExxonMobil Corp. v. Lazy R Ranch, No. 15-0270

I’ve written about this case before.  The Ranch is suing to require Exxon to remediate groundwater contamination. Exxon claims that the Ranch’s claims are barred by limitations. The Ranch says it is only asking the court to order Exxon to prevent the groundwater contamination from spreading further, and that such claims are not subject to the statute of limitations.  The court of appeals reversed the trial court’s order dismissing the case on limitation grounds, siding with the Ranch and ordering a trial. The parties’ briefs are here. Oral Argument November 7.

BP America Production Co. v. Red Deer Resources LLC, No. 15-0569

Another top-lease case. Red Deer top leased a BP lease and sued, contending that BP’s well was not capable of producing in paying quantities when it was shut in by BP.  BP lost in the trial court and the court of appeals. The parties’ briefs are here. Oral argument November 10.

In all three of these cases, the court required the parties to file full briefs before deciding whether to grant the petition for review.


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