Residential Real Estate Civil Procedure Energy & Utilities

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Key Operating & Equipment, Inc. v. Hegar Case Study

On June 20, 2014, the Texas Supreme Court held that an oil and gas production company, Key Operating & Equipment, Inc. (“Key”), had the right of access on an adjacent tract of land that is part of a pooled drilling unit. Key...more

Take That! Second District Court of Appeal Clears Major Hurdles for Newhall Ranch Project, Provides Guidance on California’s...

California’s Second District Court of Appeal, Division Five, issued a decision on March 20 in Center for Biological Diversity v. Department of Fish & Wildlife (Case No. BS131347), overturning the trial court’s decision...more

Surface Owner’s Regulatory Taking Claim Denied

In Walton v. City of Midland, the surface owner of a 35 acre tract within the city limits of Midland, Texas, contended that a provision in a city permit for an oil or gas well was a regulatory taking because it required the...more

DISPUTE RESOLUTION: Oil & Gas: Litigation Texas Supreme Court Reaffirms Minerals Estate's Superior Rights

It has long been a rule in Texas that the mineral estate is dominant over the surface estate. This rule has taken on increased importance recently with the shale boom driving increased E&P activity in the state....more

Lease Contests in the West Virginia Shale Plays

Over the past 18 months, landowners have filed independent actions in West Virginia state courts to invalidate oil and gas leases, some, if not all, of which have been removed to the federal court for the Northern District of...more

Adopting Thresholds of Significance Under CEQA Not Subject to CEQA Review

In California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality Management District (CBIA) (Case No. A135335 (Cal. Ct. App. 1st, August 13, 2013)), the First District Court of Appeal overturned the trial court and held...more

When Can You Sue the State Without Naming the State?

I'll give you a hint, this is a bit of a trick question. Give up? Okay. Whenever you name a State agency, of course. In Lavine v. State of California (pdf), a property owner filed a lawsuit after the Regional Water...more

The Seventh Circuit Still Wrong: Bernstein v. Bankert

Late last year I blogged on the dubious decision by the Seventh Circuit in Bernstein v. Blankert which held that a settling CERCLA party did not resolve its liability to the government until it had performed all of its...more

Georgia Court Of Appeals Upholds Class Certification In Air Pollution Case

The Georgia Court of Appeals, on July 16, issued its opinion affirming the Effingham County Superior Court’s decision to certify a class consisting of the owners of properties neighboring Georgia-Pacific’s Savannah River...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Confirms The Dunham Rule

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Or, as said by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, “A rule of property long acquiesced in should not be overthrown except for compelling reasons of public policy or the imperative demands of...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Upholds Statewide Oil And Gas Conveyance Rules

In October of 2012 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard oral argument on two key cases that potentially could reshape the laws and rules applicable to hydraulic fracturing in the state. We wrote extensively about these cases...more

Pa. Supreme Court Issues Decision in Butler Case

On April 24, 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued its highly anticipated decision in the Butler v. Charles Powers Estate case. The Supreme Court decided to maintain the status quo in Pennsylvania by reaffirming the...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Reaffirms Dunham Rule, Confirms that Marcellus Shale Natural Gas is not a "Mineral"

On April 24, 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Butler v. Powers held that Marcellus shale “natural gas is presumptively not a mineral for purposes of private deeds.” The Court reaffirmed the “Dunham Rule,” which applies...more

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in Butler Affirms the Long-Standing Dunham Rule and Brings Certainty to Marcellus Shale Natural...

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in Butler v. Charles Powers Estate1 unanimously reversed the ruling of the Superior Court which held that an evidentiary hearing “complete with expert, scientific testimony” is necessary to...more

Housing Development With Optional Retail Component Qualifies For CEQA Exemption For Residential Projects Consistent With...

A group of citizens challenged a city’s determination that a proposed residential development qualifies for an exemption under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) as a residential project that is consistent with...more

New Significance Standard For Greenhouse Gas Emissions Is Not New Information Triggering Supplemental CEQA Review

In an opinion published on March 28, 2013, a California court of appeal answered three questions under the California Environmental Quality Act that the published decisions have not yet addressed...more

Texas Supreme Court Applies Daubert-Type Standards to Lay Testimony

Texas has long adhered to the “Property Owner Rule,” permitting property owners to testify as to the value of their property. Recent cases have emphasized that the testimony must relate to market value, rather than intrinsic...more

CEQA Year In Review 2012

In This Issue: - Project Approvals Triggering CEQA ..Chung v City of Monterey Park (2012) 210 CA4th 394 ..Tuolumne Jobs and Small Business Alliance v Superior Court) 210 CA4th 1006 (petition for review pending,...more

West Virginia Surface Owners May Not Appeal Gas Well Permits

As reported on September 27, 2012, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals was recently presented with a certified question concerning whether surface rights owners may bring a court action to challenge gas well drilling...more

DISPUTE RESOLUTION: Climate Change Litigation: Ninth Circuit Rejects Plaintiffs’ Claims for Damages for Alleged Climate...

In Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp., No. 09-17490 (9th Cir. Sep. 21, 2012), a panel of the Ninth Circuit unanimously affirmed the dismissal of an action brought by plaintiffs who sought $400 million in damages...more

Court Addresses Surface Owner Appeal Rights Involving Marcellus Shale Gas Wells

On September 25, 2012, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals entertained oral arguments in the case of James Martin, Director v. Matthew L. Hamblet, Docket No. 11-1157. This appeal arises from a ruling issued by the...more

Lessons from a Long, Long Eminent Domain Battle

A few weeks ago, the California Court of Appeal issued an interesting unpublished decision detailing a long, drawn-out eminent domain battle in Riverside County. I haven't blogged about it yet because, well to be honest, it...more

PACE Fights Regulatory and Legal Headwinds

Once lauded by the Harvard Business Review as a “Breakthrough Idea of 2010,” the promise of an innovative financing method for residential renewable energy and energy conservation retrofits under Property Assessed Clean...more

REGULATORY: Environmental: Does Sackett Add to the Enforcement Defense Toolbox For Energy Companies By Drew Bell, Chris Benson,...

In its highly anticipated decision in Sackett v. EPA[1], the Supreme Court unanimously held that landowners may bring a civil action under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) to challenge an EPA compliance order issued...more

Shell Oil Co. v. Ross: Texas Supreme Court Opinion on the Statute of Limitations Favors Operators over Royalty Owners

In December 2011, the Texas Supreme Court issued its latest decision on the statute of limitations and fraudulent concealment exception. In the case, Shell entered into a mineral lease with the Ross family in 1961. Under the...more

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