Charles Sartain

Charles Sartain

Gray Reed & McGraw, P.C.

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Fueling Freedom: Explaining the Value of Fossil Fuels

Which of these statements makes sense to you: A. “Never before have the rulers of a society intentionally driven it backwards to scarcer, more expensive, and less efficient energy.” B. “Communism is the optimal...more

8/25/2016 - Climate Change Energy Policy Energy Sector Environmental Policies Fracking Natural Gas Oil & Gas

Control-of-Well Insurance: The Words of the Policy Control

Gemini Insurance Company at al v. Drilling Risk Management Inc construed control-of-well and redrill/extra-expense provisions in an insurance contract. The question and the rule - The question was whether an...more

8/18/2016 - Energy Sector Insurance Industry Oil & Gas Policy Terms Well Drilling

When Can Employee Policies Be Amended?

Thinking about changing an employee policy in Texas? Kubala v. Supreme Production Services, Inc. says you can do it (almost) whenever you want. Want to make employees arbitrate their disputes? You can do that too....more

8/10/2016 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Collective Actions Delegation Clauses Employment Policies Energy Sector FLSA Mandatory Arbitration Clauses Oil & Gas

Title Suit Booted for Failure to Join Parties

Longoria v. ExxonMobil is like throwing a big party but failing to invite all the right guests. The Longorias – 59 of them – sued producer-defendants over ownership of 9,200 acres in Brooks County, Texas, acquired in the...more

8/4/2016 - Energy Sector Exxon Mobil Mineral Rights Oil & Gas Royalties

Securities Fraud – a Lesson for Promoters

We discussed SEC v. Arcturus et al last week and promised more. Here it is. Did defendants commit securities fraud? It doesn’t matter. Violations of Sections 5 of the Securities Act and 15.A of the Exchange Act are...more

7/26/2016 - Energy Sector Exemptions Interstate Commerce Oil & Gas Section 5 Securities Securities Act of 1933 Securities Exchange Act Securities Fraud Unregistered Securities

When is a Joint Venture a Security?

Parvizian controlled Arcturus and Aschere, buying and selling interests in drilling projects. Each project had a managing venturor which supervised the project. Each venture included a confidential information memorandum,...more

7/22/2016 - Joint Venture Oil & Gas SEC Securities Act of 1933 Securities Exchange Act Securities Fraud Well Drilling

Texas Supreme Court Clarifies Nuisance Law

Gardiner v. Crosstex North Texas Pipeline LLC, has brought clarity to Texas nuisance law. It took the Texas Supreme Court 54 pages; we have it in under 600 words. ...more

7/14/2016 - Energy Sector Land Owners Nuisance Oil & Gas TX Supreme Court

Wyoming Federal Court Strikes Down BLM Fracking Rule

U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl in State of Wyoming et al v. U.S. Department if Interior et al. struck down Bureau of Land Management regulations applying to hydraulic fracking on federal and Indian lands. He...more

7/6/2016 - Bureau of Land Management Contamination Energy Exploration Energy Policy Act Energy Sector EPA Fracking Fracking Bans Native American Issues Oil & Gas Safe Drinking Water Act Tribal Lands

Texas Comptroller Prevails in Tax Exemption Claim

A fight over the Texas sales tax drew industry-wide attention when the trial judge commented from the bench that he was inclined to exempt purchases of casing, tubing, pumps and related services from Texas state sales tax....more

6/29/2016 - Energy Sector Oil & Gas Tax Exemptions TX Supreme Court

A Development in Trade-Secret Cases

The big trade-secret case, Southwestern Energy v. Berry-Helfand, has been worked over by the Texas Supreme Court. Highlights: - Lack of certainty in damages does not preclude recovery. - A “Flexible and...more

6/22/2016 - Breach of Contract Confidentiality Agreements Damages Discovery Misappropriation Oil & Gas Statute of Limitations Trade Secrets TX Supreme Court Well Drilling

The Model Form JOA in Hard Times (and Farewell, Rally Possum)

Good morning class. Welcome to an advanced course on what can go wrong with the Model Form just when you need it. FIRST CASE - Do you know where to file your UCC financing statement?...more

6/16/2016 - Commercial Bankruptcy Energy Sector Foreclosure Liens Oil & Gas Operating Agreements Real Estate Market UCC Financing Statements Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)

The Accommodation Doctrine Gets Its Feet Wet

Let’s start with a little background: Under the Accommodation Doctrine an oil and gas lessee has an implied right to use the land as reasonably necessary to produce and remove the minerals, but must exercise the right with...more

6/8/2016 - Energy Sector Groundwater Mineral Exploration Mineral Extraction Mineral Leases Oil & Gas

Lessee Escapes Termination

Escondido and Justapor. Next up on Tiny Desk Concert? Good guess, but no. They are the parties in Escondido v. Justapor, a Texas case presenting the perils of lease termination clauses and vaguely-drawn contracts....more

6/2/2016 - Breach of Contract Contract Drafting Lease Termination Mineral Leases Motion for Summary Judgment Oil & Gas Royalties Underpayment

What’s To Know About the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016

Congress has passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 and the president is expected to sign it into law. The DTSA allows suits in federal court for misappropriation of trade secrets. Before the DTSA, most litigants would...more

5/25/2016 - Asset Seizure Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) Economic Espionage Act Energy Sector Ex Parte Intellectual Property Protection Misappropriation New Legislation Private Right of Action Trade Secrets UTSA

Neither a Will Nor Gift Deed?

This narrative about a daughter gone bad is for title examiners, landmen and moralists. Business development persons, skip straight to the lesson. The background Elvira owned a home and lived with Johnny. Elvira and...more

5/18/2016 - Deeds Energy Sector Gifts Land Titles Property Owners

Here We Go Again: Fractional Royalty or Fraction of a Royalty?

“Blood may be thicker than water, but oil is thicker than both.”  J. R. Ewing. This family dispute among Ethel’s descendants arose when Ethel’s will employed double fractions in bequeathing royalty interests to her children....more

5/12/2016 - Energy Sector Gas Royalties Mineral Leases Oil & Gas

Proposed Methane Rules – Good or Bad?

Last week we discussed why the EPA’s plan to limit methane emissions from existing oil and gas facilities is good. Now we will consider reasons why the plan is not prudent....more

5/4/2016 - Energy Sector EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Methane Natural Gas Oil & Gas Shale Gas

EPA Methane Rules Are Coming

“Remember, I can do anything to anybody”, deranged and murderous Roman emperor Caligula to his grandmother (Julia, widow of Tiberius and herself no stranger to things done to other people as and when they pleased)....more

4/29/2016 - Energy Sector EPA Global Warming Greenhouse Gas Emissions Methane Oil & Gas Pipelines Pollution Control

When Joint Bidding Is Not Bid Rigging

Last week we discussed the pitfalls of joint bidding for oil and gas properties. We didn’t say you can’t do it. It’s like domestic life: There are ways you can tell your beloved that dress makes her look  …, well, never mind....more

4/20/2016 - Bids DOJ Energy Sector Joint Venture Oil & Gas Standard OIl

The Peril in Joint Bidding for Properties

Wondering what was behind the Department of Justice indictment of the late Aubrey McClendon? The charge was conspiring to rig bids for oil and gas properties in Oklahoma. Read the McClendon indictment and engage in the parlor...more

4/13/2016 - Anti-Competitive Bid Rigging Energy Sector Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Rule-of-Reason Analysis Sherman Act

Washing Out a Lessee By Email

Behold Mr. Clean. Even he can’t remove a pesky stain as skillfully as the landman who framed the conversation in a way that washed out a lessee. See Anadarko Petroleum Corporation v. TRO-X, LP Did the lessee retain any...more

4/6/2016 - Email Energy Sector Land Titles Lease Termination Lessee Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Participation Agreements

State Well Permit Prevails Over Local Zoning – Again

The state laws of Louisiana regulating oil and gas exploration and production will trump local regulations. See St. Tammany Parish Government v. State of Louisiana, Office of Conservation. (Forgive us for that word that...more

3/23/2016 - Energy Exploration Energy Sector Mineral Exploration Oil & Gas

What Happens to a Bundled Production Payment When a Lease Terminates?

Must a production payment out of four oil and gas leases be proportionately reduced if two of the leases expire because production ceased? In Apache Deepwater, LLC v. McDaniel Partners, Ltd., the Texas Supreme Court says yes....more

3/16/2016 - Lease Termination Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Royalties TX Supreme Court Well Drilling

Can the E&P Debtor Reject Gas Gathering Agreements in Bankruptcy?

What’s a sure way to destroy untold millions of dollars of energy infrastructure value built in reliance on the promise of reimbursement for huge capital investments necessary to move a producer’s product to market for the...more

3/8/2016 - Bankruptcy Code Commercial Bankruptcy Creditors Debt Restructuring Debtors Energy Sector Oil & Gas

Post-Production Deductions Revisited

Apparently unsatisfied with its analysis in Chesapeake Exploration v. Hyder, the Texas Supreme Court revisited its original opinion on an overriding royalty clause. The Hyders remain the winners. In effect, the court replaced...more

3/2/2016 - Energy Sector Gas Royalties Mineral Leases Oil & Gas

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