Charles Sartain

Charles Sartain

Gray Reed & McGraw

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The Constructive Notice Doctrine in Action

Today’s “pay attention” edition begins with a quiz. What is the most important thing to read carefully: a. Speed limit sign in small-town (insert name of Southern state). b. Itinerary for that dream vacation, the...more

1/10/2017 - Constructive Notice Contract Terms Deeds Energy Sector Land Titles Mineral Extraction Reformation Statute of Limitations

2016 – A Bad Year For Bad Guys in Energy

Let’s look back at a cavalcade of crooks, criminals and miscreants who met up with justice in 2016. We do it to be reminded of the others who will be lurking in the 2017 shadows....more

1/6/2017 - Biofuel Cease and Desist Orders Criminal Conspiracy Energy Sector Enforcement Actions Fraud Hackers Mail Fraud Oil & Gas Ponzi Scheme Popular SEC Securities Exchange Act Securities Fraud Securities Violations Tax Fraud Wire Fraud

Have You Reviewed Your Lease Maintenance Processes Lately?

You might conclude that the but-for-the-grace-of-God-that-could-be-me nightmare presented in In re: RPH Capital Partners is instructive only for lawyers. If so, you would be mistaken. The lesson: If you want to win the...more

12/28/2016 - Contract Disputes Contract Terms Due Process Energy Sector Gas Royalties Lessee Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Participation Agreements

TXO v. Vela Remembered in a Gas Royalty Case

Westport Oil & Gas Company, L.P. v. Mecom et al. presented this question: Was the lease royalty based on a gas purchase agreement formula or on the royalty clauses’s market value at the well provision? Spoiler alert:...more

12/20/2016 - Contract Terms Energy Sector Gas Royalties Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Purchase Agreement

Your Louisiana Override – Where Does it Come From?

It’s a multiple choice question: a. The royalty interest reserved by the lessor. b. The drillbit, courtesy of fearless, risk-taking entrepreneurs, the backbone of the great American free enterprise system and the...more

12/15/2016 - Energy Sector Gas Royalties Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Operating Agreement

Arbitration in Louisiana – Another Budding Romance?

Are Louisiana courts as enamored with arbitration as their Texas counterparts? Looks like it. East of the Sabine, submitting your dispute to arbitration means you are pretty much saying adieu, farewell and bye-bye to...more

12/7/2016 - Arbitration Arbitration Awards Contract Disputes Energy Sector Gross Negligence Joint Operating Agreement LA Supreme Court Oil & Gas Participation Agreements Professional Negligence

The Rule Against Perpetuities is Alive and Enforceable in Oklahoma

Today we venture into Oklahoma, to be instructed on the Supreme Court’s treatment of the Rule Against Perpetuities. First, the Rule: No property interest is good unless it must vest, if all, not later than 21 years after...more

12/1/2016 - Breach of Contract Energy Sector Limited Liability Company (LLC) Mineral Exploration Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Participation Agreements Rule Against Perpetuities Tortious Interference Well Drilling

Option Contract Ruling Reversed by Texas Supreme Court.

North Shore Energy v. Harkins interpreted an Option Agreement between landowners and a producer over a 400 acre tract. In football they would say the Texas Supreme Court pancaked the plaintiff. In the law, some would call it...more

11/17/2016 - Ambiguous Appeals Breach of Contract Contract Interpretation Contract Terms Energy Sector Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Property Owners Tortious Interference TX Supreme Court

Operator – Don’t Get Burned by Paying an Insolvent Contractor

Just received notice of a Texas subcontractor’s mineral lien? DO NOT continue to pay the contractor. He hasn’t paid the subcontractor. Think you owe nothing on the well on which the lien will be filed? Think what you owe the...more

11/9/2016 - Contractors Energy Sector Insolvency Liens Master Service Agreement Mineral Rights Oil & Gas Residential Real Estate Market

What Your New President Will Do For or To You

We begin with a Rorschach test. As the big election day approaches, which candidate do you see in the photograph? Discuss among yourselves. Get ready for lots of musical interludes. The nation’s despair runs deep and...more

11/3/2016 - Donald Trump Energy Sector Hillary Clinton Oil & Gas Political Campaigns Political Candidates Presidential Elections Renewable Energy Solar Energy Wind Power

Texas Courts Continue Their Romance With Arbitration

The lessons in Craddick Partners Ltd. v. EnerSciences Holdings, LLC are three: Parties who have not signed an agreement to arbitrate have standing to compel arbitration; artful pleading to avoid arbitration won’t work; and...more

10/26/2016 - Arbitration Energy Sector Motion to Compel Negligence Negligent Misrepresentation Oil & Gas Tortious Interference

Louisiana Statutory Penalties Imposed on Operator

If you’ve ever tried to escape penalties for the operator/producer’s failure to comply with La. R.S §30:103.1 and §103.2, take comfort in XXI Oil & Gas, LLC v. Hilcorp Energy Company. You are not alone. No excuse has...more

10/24/2016 - Energy Costs Energy Exploration Energy Sector Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Operators Statutory Penalties Well Drilling

Texas Tax Ruling Favors Frac Trailer Owners

If you were able to keep your frac trailers from the clutches of your avaricious creditors during the past several unpleasant years, you could be in luck. Owners and lessors of frac trailers may be entitled to a refund for...more

10/17/2016 - ALJ Energy Sector Fracking Heavy Equipment Oil & Gas Sales Tax Tax Refunds

Methane Emissions Standards Take Effect

Effective this past August 3, the EPA has new regulations for methane and volatile organic compound emissions from oil and gas operations  As you know, reducing methane emissions is a key component of the President‘s climate...more

10/6/2016 - Climate Change Environmental Policies EPA Methane Obama Administration Oil & Gas Regulatory Standards Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)

New Mexico Pit Rule Survives Challenge by Enviro Group

In a case displaying the tactics of anti-fossil fuel advocates, Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project v. New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission, a court rejected a challenge to the Commission’s amendment of the “Pit...more

9/28/2016 - Energy Sector Environmental Policies Oil & Gas Public Health Regulatory Oversight Underground Storage Tanks Water Supplies

Back to the Bulgarian Bad Guy, So Say the Justices

My blogging sensei Cordell Parvin says the title should always inform the reader of the content. Mea culpa on this one; I couldn’t resist the alliterations. Some time back I reported on Carlton Energy Group et al v....more

9/21/2016 - Actual Damages Appeals Contract Disputes Energy Exploration Energy Projects Energy Sector Fair Market Value Lost Profits Oil & Gas Purchase Agreement Reversal

Assigning By “Stratigraphic Equivalent”? Be Careful

How many of your mineral conveyances are described like this: … all of Sellers’ right, title and interest in and to (a) the oil, gas and other minerals in, to and under the lands … ONLY INSOFAR as such oil, gas and other...more

9/14/2016 - Energy Sector Mineral Leases Mineral Rights Oil & Gas Subsurface Conditions Well Drilling

Louisiana Partition Agreement: You Can’t Trade What You Don’t Own

Square Mile Energy LLC v. Pommier considered this language in a Louisiana partition agreement: “N.B: Included in this transfer are any and all mineral rights, when available, to Roxanne and all surface rights.” Did this...more

9/1/2016 - Community Property Contract Interpretation Contract Terms Energy Sector Land Titles Mineral Leases Mineral Rights Oil & Gas Partitions Property Ownership Transfer of Interest

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

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