Texas Title Disputes
Lawsuits may be necessary to resolve disagreements over the ownership of land rights or mineral interests. Often, these controversies arise from vague or ambiguous language contained in a conveyance instrument. The proper interpretation of the instruments in your chain of title is crucial to ensuring you are receiving your rightful share of the various benefits that land and mineral owners enjoy. Sometimes, it is necessary to have a judicial determination of those rights.
Oil and Gas Lease Disputes and Royalty Litigation
An oil and gas lease is a contract between a mineral owner and an operator that imposes both explicit and implied duties and obligations on the operator: duties and obligations that many operators ignore and treat as non-existent. The oil and gas lease obligates the oil company to pay the mineral owner a royalty on the oil and gas produced from the mineral owner’s lands.
Oil and gas companies are notorious for trampling on the rights of the mineral owner, regardless of the language of their contract. Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair LLP represents owners with claims regarding their contractual rights under the lease as well as whether or not there has been fraud or other wrongdoing regarding the proper payment of their royalties.
Chesapeake Oil and Gas Royalty Injuries: Multi District Litigation
Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair LLP’s Trace Blair is involved in the representation of several Texas lessor-royalty owners in multi district litigation (MDL) against Chesapeake Energy Corporation; Chesapeake Operating LLC; Chesapeake Exploration, LLC; Chesapeake Energy Marketing, LLC; Jamestown Resources, LLC; Larchmont Resources, LLC, and others to recover millions of dollars in underpaid monthly royalties resulting for oil and gas lease production.
For more details on this royalty fight, read “South Texas shale royalty fights head to court in 2018,” written by Jennifer Hiller and published by the San Antonio Express-News on August 1, 2017.
Surface Damages and Environmental Disasters
When an oil company leases minerals from the owner of the mineral rights, the company has the legal right to the reasonable use of the land (surface estate) for the exploration and production of the underlying minerals. This right to access the oil and gas below the land’s surface does not give the corporation permission to damage or contaminate the property.
Oil companies can, and do, damage surface property. They can, and do, contaminate the soil or air with toxins. Land owners who suffer damage and harm to the surface may suffer temporary or permanent harm to their land.