Charles Sartain

Charles Sartain

Gray Reed & McGraw, P.C.

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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

Railroad Commission Plugs the Wrong Well – Another Issue

“Back in the day, when the Yankees always won the World Series and you could name a park after a Confederate general, we didn’t need no written contract; a man’s word was his bond, … yadda, yadda, yadda”....more

2/18/2016 - Breach of Contract Contract Disputes Energy Sector Negligence Oil & Gas Well Setbacks

Railroad Commission Not Off the Hook for Plugging the Wrong Well

“You are my friend, kind of.” Hush Puppy, as she stares down the Aurochs in Beasts of the Southern Wild. Is our “friend” the Texas Railroad Commission? Gulf Energy bought a package of offshore wells out of bankruptcy....more

2/12/2016 - Breach of Contract Energy Sector Good Faith Negligence Offshore Drilling Oil & Gas Well Setbacks

What is an Adequate Description For a Mineral Lien ?

Thanks to In re Reichmann Petroleum Corp., we know one that works in Texas: A lien affidavit attaching either a plat or a plat and a Texas Railroad Commission Form W-1 provides an adequate property description for a mineral...more

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

108 Year-Old Lease Survives

A baseball question: You’ve got men on late in the game; a base hit to the right side wins. Do you put the bat on the ball for a single or swing for the deep seats, risking the game-ending strikeout?...more

1/27/2016 - Civil Code Energy Sector Mineral Leases Oil & Gas

Operator: Be Careful Handling Ad Valorem Taxes

This is to be expected in these dark days of diminished cash flow. Imagine: You are the operator and the non-ops have given you their share of ad valorem taxes, expecting you to pay them to the taxing authority at the right...more

1/22/2016 - Ad Valorem Tax Energy Sector

Texas Property Code Change – No More Subordinations?

Weary of having to solicit those pesky subordinations of pre-existing mortgages to your recently-acquired oil and gas leases? Tired of chasing down the third assistant to the fourth vice president for loan servicing just to...more

1/13/2016 - Mineral Leases Mortgages Oil & Gas Subordination

Things That Never Change in the Oil Patch: How to Aggravate the SEC

In the spirit of Charles Ponzi, today we offer advice for attracting special attention from powerful federal authorities who want to punish you. Helms and Kaelin marketed a limited partnership to hold royalty interests in...more

1/6/2016 - Energy Sector Gas Royalties Oil & Gas SEC Securities Fraud

What if a Partition Deed Doesn’t Consider the Minerals?

Did Moses worry about the mineral rights when he parted the Red Sea? Maybe Charlton Heston knows. What we know is that 3,500 years later if you plan to partition surface rights, the time to pay attention to the minerals is...more

12/23/2015 - Climate Change Deeds Energy Sector Mineral Rights Surface Owner

A Corporate Opportunity? … Stolen?

If you want to get to the meaning of a case, one exercise is to put yourself in the shoes of one participant or the other and see how you react to the events. (This also works well with Bible stories, by the way.) Last week...more

12/17/2015 - Breach of Duty Business Opportunities Energy Sector Fiduciary Duty Mineral Leases Oil & Gas

What is a Corporate Opportunity?

Let’s say two fellows are in the oil business and one of his activities is as a director of an exploration company. A deal comes in, they present it to the company, but take it for themselves, Did they steal the opportunity...more

12/11/2015 - Breach of Duty Business Opportunities Energy Sector Fiduciary Duty Oil & Gas

Les Miles is Like the Oil Business

How is that, you say? More on the Les mess: And now, on to our case Co-author Brooke Sizer.   NorAm Drilling Co. v. E & Pco Intern., LLC is important if you: The events E&P acquired two leases in Caldwell Parish, Louisiana,...more

12/2/2015 - Contract Disputes Energy Sector Mineral Leases Oil & Gas

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

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