Charles Sartain

Charles Sartain

Gray Reed & McGraw, P.C.

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Hydrocarbon Exposure Reconsidered

You might recall previous entries discussing the $2.9 million Dallas County verdict and judgment in Parr v. Aruba. Not all similar suits have the same result. Michael and Myra Cerny sued Marathon Oil Corp. and Plains...more

10/28/2014 - Hydrocarbons Negligence Oil & Gas Toxic Exposure

What’s Going On in Denton, Texas?

As you probably know, the Denton City Council denied a petition signed by several thousand citizens to ban hydraulic fracturing within the city limits. The denial sent the question to the November 4 general election ballot. ...more

10/28/2014 - Fracking Fracking Bans Local Ordinance

Delay Strikes Down Another Plaintiff

Why am I always reporting on plaintiffs who wait too long to file their lawsuit? In the latest Texas case, Trahan v. Mettlen, the Trahans sued in 2010 on a 2006 warranty deed....more

10/22/2014 - Delays Energy Mineral Rights Minerals Oil & Gas Reservation of Rights

Faulty Property Description Haunts Louisiana Servitude

Halloween is approaching, so let’s talk poltergeists – troublesome spirits that haunt a specific location. Where do they come from? In Quality Environmental Processes, Inc. v I.P. Petroleum Company, Inc., it was from a faulty...more

10/15/2014 - Energy Mineral Rights Oil & Gas Royalties

Easements: Roads Traveled, Less Traveled, and Not Traveled

Why would anyone buy property without access to a public road? Because it seemed like a good idea at the time, I guess. And often it is, until things change, “things” often being new and unfriendly ownership of the...more

10/8/2014 - Easements Energy Energy Policy Oil & Gas

Truth and Illusion in the Fracking Debate

Gas Flaring - According to Earthworks, gas flaring in the Bakken and Eagle Ford Shale is out of control and tons of greenhouse gases are being fired into the atmosphere; therefore, we should ban fracking. According to...more

10/1/2014 - Bakken Shale Fracking Greenhouse Gas Emissions Natural Gas Oil & Gas Shale Gas

How Much Are Your Trees Worth?

In Texas, more than your dog. Gilbert Wheeler, Inc. v. Enbridge Pipelines (East Texas), L.P. is good news for landowners. The Texas Supreme recognized the intrinsic-value-of-trees exception to the general rule for damages to...more

9/25/2014 - Damages Trees Valuation

What Does “Sprawling Litigation” Look Like?

It looks like what you’d expect: a bunch of litigants spending lots of time at a courthouse in Goliad, Texas, with no end in sight. After much ”sprawl” in Harkins v. Northshore Energy it came down to the meaning of this...more

9/19/2014 - Commercial Leases Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Well Drilling

North Dakota Good Faith Purchasers: At What Point is Notice Relevant?

The Question - In order to be a good faith purchaser, a party must not have actual or constructive notice of another’s rights. Northern Oil and Gas v. Creighton asked, When should the determination of whether a party...more

9/17/2014 - Commercial Leases Constructive Notice Mineral Leases Oil & Gas

Subcontractors Score a Victory in Federal Court

On August 27, in In re Heritage Consolidated, L.L.C., the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted subcontractor’s lien rights to two oil and gas drilling contractors. The Court reversed a district court ruling which upheld a...more

9/4/2014 - Appeals Commercial Bankruptcy Construction Industry Liens Mechanics Lien Oil & Gas Subcontractors Well Drilling

Freedom to Contract Prevails in New Mexico

Is freedom to contract a good thing for everybody? First Baptist Church of Roswell v. Yates Petroleum Corp. says yes, and confirms that the public policy in New Mexico is freedom to contract. In this case, it was to avoid...more

8/27/2014 - Contract Disputes Interest Payments Oil & Gas Royalties

In Wyoming, a Higher Burden for Chemical Disclosure Exemption?

In Powder River Basin Resource Council v. Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the Wyoming Supreme Court held that the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has the burden of justifying the use of trade secrets...more

8/20/2014 - Chemicals Disclosure Requirements Fracking Hazardous Substances Oil & Gas Trade Secrets

CO2 is Good

In French vs. Occidental Permian, Ltd. the Texas Supreme Court held that costs associated with injection of carbon dioxide into a reservoir in a tertiary recovery operation were properly deducted from royalties. This...more

8/15/2014 - Carbon Capture and Sequestration Carbon Emissions Energy Greenhouse Gas Emissions Oil & Gas

Treachery of the Untrustworthy Trustee

In 2006, Fred Houston created the Fred L. Houston Trust and placed into it the Tenneco lease, which had been producing since 1974. Ms. Williams was the trustee. The trust instrument declared the trust “… irrevocable and may...more

8/6/2014 - Energy Estate Planning Oil & Gas Spendthrift Trusts Trusts

Rumsfeld, Morrison and the Discovery Rule in Texas

In August 1999, Brock and Tipton signed a Farm and Ranch Contract by which Tipton would acquire 519 acres in Montague County. (Lots of Brocks were parties to the contracts and the suit. I refer to them as one for...more

7/30/2014 - Discovery Rule Mineral Rights Statute of Limitations Warranty Deed

This is Why You Need a Will

Let’s talk title disputes, especially ones between those with record title and those claiming title by possession: - They are complicated (There were 229 defendants in today’s case) - They happen when there is a lot...more

7/23/2014 - Estate Planning

The Non-Binding Agreement – Louisiana Edition

No. In 2008 as the Haynesville Shale was being developed at breakneck speed, companies rushed to lease and landowners banded together in groups in order to obtain the best terms. Landowner Mr. Walsworth joined the “Go...more

7/16/2014 - Commercial Leases Haynesville Shale Mineral Leases Oil & Gas

Frac(k)ing, Parr v. Aruba, and Minority Oppression

WHAT IS IT, FRACING OR FRACKING? Having gone back-and-forth over how to spell the process, I’ve figured it out....more

7/14/2014 - Fracking

Are Personal Injury Damages Avaiable in a Nuisance Case?

As promised, on May 22, today’s post is a study of the personal injury issues raised by the defendants in Parr v. Aruba. In this post we raise the question and discuss what the parties believe the answer should be....more

7/8/2014 - Bodily Injury Hazardous Substances Nuisance Toxic Exposure

Are Oil and Gas Producers Protecting the Environment?

In their search for Utopia, some opponents of oil and gas drilling ignore innovation … What’s harmful now will forever be that way....more

7/2/2014 - Bakken Shale Energy Energy Projects Environmental Policies Fracking Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Oil & Gas Pipelines Pollution Control Recycling

Perils of “Other Provisions” in the Model Form JOA

Scriveners, when you add those “Other Provisions” in Article XVI of your model from JOA’s, are you sure that the document remains internally consistent, that no “Other Provision” conflicts with the form?...more

6/26/2014 - Contract Drafting Energy Oil & Gas Purchase Agreement

Operator Wins JOA Fight

MDU Barnett Ltd. P’ship v. Chesapeake Exploration Ltd. P’ship is at least three things: - The culmination of an unhappy relationship between an operator and non-operators. - What happens when joint owners’ interests...more

6/17/2014 - Barnett Shale Chesapeake Exploration Development Agreements Joint Venture Oil & Gas

What’s Up at the Department of Energy?

Other than Solyndra, what comes to mind when you consider the DOE (assuming that’s on your mind when an alternative is the NCAA baseball postseason)? Many view the DOE as does the CATO Institute....more

6/10/2014 - DOE Energy

North Dakota Court Dismisses Flaring Cases

You might recall that North Dakota achieved nationwide notoriety when photos of flaring Bakken wells visible from space circulated around the news. According to the U. S. Department of Energy...more

6/6/2014 - Bakken Shale DOE Oil & Gas Royalties Underground Injection Wells

Plugging the Wrong Well is Likely to Impact Your Pocketbook

The Texas Railroad Commission’s contractor, Superior, plugged the 708S-5 well on behalf of the Commission. Oops! The contractor plugged the wrong well. ...more

6/3/2014 - Contractors Energy Negligence Oil & Gas

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