Charles Sartain

Charles Sartain

Gray Reed & McGraw, P.C.

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Latest Publications


Wage and Hour Claims Menace Producers

It’s common knowledge: Fair Labor Standards Act audits from the U. S. Department of Labor and lawsuits from workers for overtime violations are coming faster than a blitzing safety on a third and long. Native Oilfield...more

9/30/2015 - Attorney's Fees Collective Actions DOL Energy Sector FLSA Halliburton Lay-Offs Oil & Gas Statutory Damages Unpaid Overtime Wage and Hour

How to “Score” a Contract from the Red Zone

Football pundits like to discuss Red Zone effectiveness. Driving to the goal line doesn’t much matter if you don‘t score. So, why would a negotiating party fail to score an enforceable contract while negotiating from the Red...more

9/24/2015 - Contract Formation Mineral Leases Mineral Rights Oil & Gas

Citgo Prevails Over EPA at the Fifth Circuit

USA v. Citgo Petroleum highlights the excruciating degree of detail in federal regulations and the gymnastics the EPA will employ justify a prosecution. The Fifth Circuit has reversed Citgo Petroleum’s conviction for...more

9/18/2015 - Bird Fatalities Citgo Clean Air Act Critical Habitat Endangered Species Energy Sector EPA Migratory Bird Treaty Act Oil & Gas Refineries Wastewater

New York Fracking Ban: Insult Followed by Injury

Political actions have consequences. A force majeure clause in New York oil and gas leases does not modify the primary term of the habendum clause and the leases are not extended because of the state ban “moratorium” on...more

9/9/2015 - Energy Sector Force Majeure Clause Fracking Fracking Bans Mineral Leases Moratorium Oil & Gas Summary Judgment

You Own the Oil. Do You Own the Rock?

Riddle: What’s the difference between a hydrocarbon molecule and the underground structure which the molecule inhabits? Answer: In Texas, you can own one and not the other, according to Lightning Oil Co. v. Anadarko E&P...more

9/3/2015 - Hydrocarbons Leases Mineral Leases Mineral Rights Minerals Oil & Gas Subsurface Estates Surface Estates Tortious Interference Trespass Well Drilling

Compressor Station Negligent Nuisance Verdict Reversed

Therapist: “We’re here today in group to bring closure to the traumatic events of Crosstex North Texas Pipeline L.P. v. Gardiner. Each side claims mistreatment by his adversary and by one component or another of the civil...more

8/28/2015 - Easements Eminent Domain Energy Sector Excessive Noise Negligence Nuisance Oil & Gas Pipelines

Who Needs A Master Service Agreement?

You do, whether you are a vendor or an operator. Matador Production Company vs. Weatherford Artificial Lift Systems, Inc. is a treatise on what can go wrong with a frac job: Failure of pumps, worker inexperience, failure of...more

8/19/2015 - Breach of Warranty Donald Trump Economic Damages Energy Sector Fracking Master Service Agreement Negligence Oil & Gas Summary Judgment

Did the 2015 Texas Legislature Help Oil and Gas?

Your Texas legislators have done their work and the citizens are safe for the next two years.  The other good news is that industry supporters generally believe the 2015 Legislature was their friend. House Bill 2: Set...more

8/13/2015 - Desalination Disposal Wells Earthquakes Energy Sector Fracking Fracking Bans Groundwater Groundwater Management Plan Hydraulic Fracturing Study Mineral Leases New Legislation Oil & Gas Seismic Data Water Supplies

Ballplayers Don’t Fear the Clock; Should a Plaintiff?

Quiz: How is baseball not like litigation? Plaintiffs who fail to pay attention to the clock that is the statute of limitations end up as just more detritus littering courtrooms everywhere. See Ranchero Esperanza. Ltd. v....more

8/5/2015 - Business Litigation Marathon Oil Negligence Oil & Gas Statute of Limitations

Contracts – It’s More About the Drafting Than the Suing

It’s been said that your most important decisions are made when you write your contract, not when you have to sue on it. Kachina Pipeline Company v. Lillis agrees. In a gas-purchase agreement, can the pipeline operator...more

7/29/2015 - Oil & Gas Pipelines TX Supreme Court

Fracking, Trigger Warnings, and a Safe Room

First, an apology. I have brought shame to my own self and this blog for failing to invoke trigger warnings about activities I will mention again, after the appropriate trigger warning. (I had no idea there were so many.)...more

7/23/2015 - CCST Contamination Earthquakes Energy Sector Fracking Fracking Bans Oil & Gas Toxic Chemicals

Another Lease Termination Case, a Different Ending

We recently discussed failure to produce in paying quantities. Another decision involving the same lessee had a different result. Why? The question in both cases was whether the well was capable of producing in paying...more

7/15/2015 - BP Lease Termination Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Royalties

Royalty Clauses For the Lessor – This Battle is Over

What is your guiding principle when writing agreements? “The more the words the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?” Ecclesiastes 6:11. or “The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.” Socrates...more


How an Expert Can Affect Your Oil and Gas Claim

Your well consultant just cemented 10,000 feet of tubing inside the casing of your eight million dollar well, … a neighboring operator frac’ed his Eagle Ford well into your Austin Chalk completion, thereby trespassing and...more

7/1/2015 - Contamination Expert Testimony Fracking Hess Corporation Oil & Gas

Court Arrives at Fair Market Value of Gas Property

In Texas, lost profits can’t be recovered as damages unless proven to a “reasonable certainty”. Question 1: What does that mean? Question 2: Does it matter if the deal is in Bulgaria? Let’s get rid of the...more

6/17/2015 - Damages Energy Sector Fair Market Value Lost Profits Methane Oil & Gas Profits TX Supreme Court Well Drilling

Is Your Well Producing in Paying Quantities? – The Jury Will Decide

One consequence of falling oil prices is leases that cease to produce in paying quantities. The producer’s question: How soon must the well return to profitability? The answer in BP American Production Company v. Laddex, Ltd....more

6/10/2015 - BP Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Oil Prices

Defendants Saved by Louisiana Subsequent Purchaser Rule

Another Louisiana court has ruled that the Subsequent Purchaser Rule applies to damages following a mineral lease. In Bundrick v. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. it is the 3rd Circuit. The Rule: An owner of property...more

6/3/2015 - Contaminated Properties Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Property Damage Subsequent Purchasers

Can the Tax Man Come After Your Stored Gas?

The owner of 33 BCF of gas cant’ just stuff it in his pocket and move it county-to-county to avoid taxes. So, the question: Is gas in storage subject to ad valorem tax on personal property? The Harris County Appraisal...more

5/26/2015 - Energy Sector Interstate Commerce Oil & Gas Pipelines Taxation

How to Manage Credit and Collect Unpaid Bills in Today’s Oil Patch

Everybody from the well site to the board room has an opinion about when oil prices will “rebound”. Rather than an opinion, we have a question: How do I collect my money while we’re waiting? This post is a refresher for...more

5/21/2015 - Energy Sector Oil & Gas Royalties Vendor Contacts

Lipsky Revisited – Details and Debate

Lipsky was not Range’s lessor, therefor I know nothing about the case. Surely, this person lives in my house, where I enjoy a long history of knowing nothing about anything. (Memo to self: check progress on subpoena for kids’...more

5/12/2015 - Discharge of Pollutants Energy Sector EPA Fracking Hydrocarbons Oil & Gas Railroads well

How Are the Texas Anti-SLAPP Statute and Jade Helm 15 Alike?

May a court “draw rational inferences from circumstantial evidence” when determining if a plaintiff has met its burden in a suit in which the defendant has invoked the Texas Citizens Participation Act . That was the question...more

5/6/2015 - Anti-SLAPP Defamation Energy EPA SCOTUS TCPA Texas well

Your Texas Legislature at Work, Part 2

The Texas legislature is still busy on energy issues. Is that good or bad? It depends on your situation; oil patch thieves won’t like it. Wind Energy - Senate Bill 931 would blow away the Renewable Portfolio...more

4/30/2015 - Energy Sector Oil & Gas Proposed Legislation Wind Power

What is Your Texas Legislature Doing for You Today?

The Texas legislature has been busy on energy. House Bill 40, similar to House Bills 539 and 540, steamrolled through the House of Representatives last week by a vote of 122 to 18. Reminds us of A L pitchers not...more

4/22/2015 - Legislative Agendas Oil & Gas Pending Legislation Preemption Railroads

The Danger of “Too Much Information”?

I know contract writers who like to state terms, such as property descriptions, several different ways. If you just have to over-describe, at least be careful, and at least be sure the descriptions are consistent....more

4/16/2015 - Chain of Title Contract Drafting Deeds Legal Description Property Owners

No Equitable Extension of a Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Lease

Whoa! I didn’t see this one coming. Pennsylvania lessees are not entitled to an equitable extension of the primary term of an oil and gas lease in the face of a legal challenge to the validity of the lease....more

4/9/2015 - Contract Term Declaratory Judgments Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Time Extensions Tolling

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