Residential Real Estate Energy & Utilities Civil Procedure

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Update on Two Recent California Eminent Domain Cases

I wanted to provide a quick update on two recent cases from the California Court of Appeal. The first, Golden State Water Company v. Casitas Municipal Water District (April 14, 2015), involves what appears to be an...more

Recent Court of Appeals Decision Guts Force Majeure Clauses in Most Oil and Gas Leases

On March 31, 2015, the New York State Court of Appeals issued an opinion in the case of Walter R. Beardslee, et al. v. Inflection Energy, LLC, et al., interpreting the applicability of force majeure clauses to extend the...more

Duty to Consult Not Triggered for Exploration Dispositions: Saskatchewan Court of Appeal

The grant of exploration dispositions for oil sands located beneath treaty lands did not trigger the Crown’s duty to consult, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal held recently in Buffalo River Dene Nation v Ministry of Energy...more

Two California Appellate Court Rulings Demonstrate that Groundwater Pumping Fees are in the Eye of the Beholder

One Holds that the Fee is Subject to Prop. 26 and Another that it is a Property-Related Fee Subject to Prop. 218 - Two California Appellate Court decisions handed down this month address whether or not a local water...more

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner: Don’t Deny Earthquake Claims as Man-Made by Linking Them to Fracking

The jury is still out on whether hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” causes earthquakes, but carriers whose policies afford coverage for quakes have recently been denying such claims, asserting that they are excluded because...more

New Jersey Spill Act: No Statute of Limitations After All

Several months ago we wrote about a then-pending challenge before the New Jersey Supreme Court over the question of whether the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act (the “Spill Act”), N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11 et seq. was...more

A Lesson in Lease Administration

What must a Louisiana lessee do to avoid statutory penalties for non-payment of royalty, and what must a royalty owner do to put the lessee on notice that royalties are not being paid? The answers are, more than the lessee...more

Judge Finds GenOn Power Plant Suit is Like School on a Saturday … No Class.

A Pennsylvania federal judge recently struck the class allegations from a suit brought against GenOn Power Midwest LP, alleging that its coal-fired power plant released toxic emissions that damaged surrounding property. Even...more

Environmental Alert: "Texas Supreme Court Declines to Determine Effect of Permit in Subsurface Trespass Case"

The Supreme Court of Texas upheld a jury verdict finding that a landowner did not suffer trespass from a wastewater injection well located on adjacent property. Environmental Processing Systems, L.C., v. FPL Farming Ltd.,...more

Pennsylvania Tax Developments - A Reed Smith Quarterly Update: November 2014

This is a brief update on recent Pennsylvania tax developments. Does New Governor Mean More Tax Reform? In the recent gubernatorial election, challenger Tom Wolf (D) defeated incumbent Governor Tom Corbett (R)....more

New Law Changes Special District Noticing Requirements for Terminating Service on Delinquent Accounts

Passage of AB 2747 by California Legislature Modifies Law - The noticing requirements special districts must follow to terminate delinquent residential light, heat, water or power service accounts were substantially...more

The Well Operator Should Have Listened To My Mother

My mother used to give us good advice. For example: Don’t lie … do your homework. Sabella v. Appalachian Development Corporation agrees with my mother. Sabella bought minerals in 1997 under 66 acres in Warren...more

An Update on Recent Oil- and Gas-Related Decisions in Ohio

Due to increased drilling activity in the Utica shale formation, state and federal courts in Ohio and the 6th Circuit have recently issued decisions related to local drilling regulations, drilling permits, leasing, indemnity...more

Delay Strikes Down Another Plaintiff

Why am I always reporting on plaintiffs who wait too long to file their lawsuit? In the latest Texas case, Trahan v. Mettlen, the Trahans sued in 2010 on a 2006 warranty deed....more

Faulty Property Description Haunts Louisiana Servitude

Halloween is approaching, so let’s talk poltergeists – troublesome spirits that haunt a specific location. Where do they come from? In Quality Environmental Processes, Inc. v I.P. Petroleum Company, Inc., it was from a faulty...more

New Jersey Appellate Court Limits Measure of Damages for Contaminated Properties

On August 27, 2014, the Superior Court of New Jersey ruled in favor of Puritan Oil against a New Jersey property owner, finding that where the oil company had already taken steps to remedy contamination it caused on...more

What Does “Sprawling Litigation” Look Like?

It looks like what you’d expect: a bunch of litigants spending lots of time at a courthouse in Goliad, Texas, with no end in sight. After much ”sprawl” in Harkins v. Northshore Energy it came down to the meaning of this...more

Should You Pay for Something You’re Not Getting? The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Will Take Up Shedden v. Anadarko E&P Company, L.P.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider whether an oil and gas lessee’s refusal to pay a “bonus” on acreage that the lease supposedly conveyed to it, but that the lessor did not own at the time of leasing and had not...more

CO2 is Good

In French vs. Occidental Permian, Ltd. the Texas Supreme Court held that costs associated with injection of carbon dioxide into a reservoir in a tertiary recovery operation were properly deducted from royalties. This...more

CO2 Separation Anxiety—Is the cost of separating CO2 from casinghead gas a “production” or “post-production” cost for purposes of...

In a recent decision, the Supreme Court of Texas concluded that the cost of removing carbon dioxide (“CO2”) from casinghead gas after completing enhanced oil recovery operations is a “post-production” cost, thus clarifying...more

Court Provides Guidelines on Valuing Natural Resources in Eminent Domain Proceedings

Valuing mineral rights in eminent domain proceedings is inherently speculative and can lead to wide swings in property valuations. So how do appraisers best deal with the uncertainty involved in mineral exploitation? The...more

Rumsfeld, Morrison and the Discovery Rule in Texas

In August 1999, Brock and Tipton signed a Farm and Ranch Contract by which Tipton would acquire 519 acres in Montague County. (Lots of Brocks were parties to the contracts and the suit. I refer to them as one for...more

The Accommodation Doctrine Revisited: A Question of "Fairness to Both Parties"

As Texas holds tight to its position as the nation's number one oil and natural gas producing state, the Texas Supreme Court's decision to revisit the over forty-year-old accommodation doctrine, which requires oil and gas...more

“2 Sign or Not 2 Sign:” Which Statute of Frauds Governs Oil & Gas Leases?

In a recent decision, the Pennsylvania Superior Court resolved an open question of state law regarding which one of two alternative statutes of frauds apply to oil and gas leases, in the process making clear that for an oil...more

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

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