Charles Sartain

Charles Sartain

Gray Reed & McGraw, P.C.

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Truthiness and Truth Edition

Truthiness: A quality characterizing a “truth” that a person making an argument or assertion claims to know intuitively, “from the gut” or because it “feels right” without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination...more

11/25/2015 - Energy Sector Fracking Keystone XL Pipeline Oil & Gas Petroleum

Louisiana Mineral Code Article 122 Revisited

Creativity abounds: Your 16-year old “explaining” the empty Southern Comfort bottle and the roach clip; President Obama justifying his rejection of Keystone. The Louisiana Supreme Court isn’t much of a supporter, at least in...more

11/12/2015 - Cause of Action Accrual Disclosure Requirements Mineral Exploration Mineral Leases Oil & Gas

Your MSA is in Place – Now What?

Are you an operator who hires contractors on location, … a contractor who hires subcontractors, … the party to be indemnified for injuries to the other party’s employees? This post is for you. Salas v. Allen Keller...more

11/4/2015 - Construction Industry Contractors Highways Master Service Agreement Negligence Operators Subcontractors Workplace Hazards Workplace Injury Workplace Safety Wrongful Death

Hydrocarbon Exposure Dismissal Affirmed

You might recall previous entries discussing Parr v. Aruba – a suit for personal injuries from oilfield pollution (and a $2.9MM verdict for the plaintiffs). Not all similar suits have the same result....more

10/28/2015 - Appeals Chemical Spills Energy Sector Hydrocarbons Marathon Oil Negligence Oil & Gas Pollution Control Private Nuisance Summary Judgment Toxic Chemicals Toxic Exposure

Oh My! Oklahoma Court Allows Earthquake Case to Proceed

What should we make of the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s order sending a suit alleging injuries from an earthquake back to the trial court for further action?  Did the court unleash the lions, tigers and bears of the litigation...more

10/23/2015 - Earthquakes Energy Sector Fracking OCC Oil & Gas OK Supreme Court Property Damage Underground Injection Wells Wastewater

The Louisiana Right of Passage Discussed

Spoiler alert: Don’t expect a post about a weekend of Mardi Gras debauchery. The owner of a landlocked tract can demand a right of passage over his neighbor’s property to the nearest public road. Does the law require the...more

10/15/2015 - Commercial Property Owners Energy Sector Private Property

Another Chesapeake Post-Production Deduction Case

The result was like others we’ve seen. Lessors Win. These wells are in Johnson and Tarrant County, Texas. Lessee Chesapeake Exploration sells to affiliate Chesapeake Marketing through affiliate-operator Chesapeake Operating....more

10/7/2015 - Energy Sector Mineral Leases Mineral Rights Oil & Gas Royalties

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

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