Landowners and holders of mineral rights sometimes find themselves in legal fights over their property. These conflicts can take a nearly limitless variety of forms. They can be over surface usage, surface ownership, oil and gas title, royalty payments, or some combination. Disagreements can arise with rival landowners, oil and gas companies, or both at the same time. But no matter what pattern the controversy follows, it nearly always hinges on a legal interpretation of contracts and ownership documents such as deeds and mineral leases. Depending on the value of the land, millions of dollars can ride on this interpretation. Branscomb Law excels in handling these types of cases.
For example, in Hahn v. ConocoPhillips Company, et. al., an Eagle Ford Shale landowner engaged us to appeal an adverse trial court judgment which divested him of valuable mineral and royalty interests in Dewitt County. Opposing our client were rival landowners and ConocoPhillips Company, one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world. The dispute centered on the meaning of two partition instruments and an oil and gas deed. We persuaded the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals that the trial court had misconstrued all of these instruments against our client and that he did in fact own the property interests in controversy. The adverse parties appealed to the Supreme Court of Texas, and we were successful at that stage as well.
Similarly, in Crimson Exploration, Inc., et. al. v. Magnum Producing, LP, our client Magnum Producing had entered a series of agreements with the operator of two valuable Lavaca County wells. These agreements guaranteed Magnum royalty interests in the wells convertible into working interests at payout. Magnum operated under the agreements for many years, shouldering its due share of its working interest expenses. When a new operator acquired the wells, it took issue with the wording of Magnum’s agreements and decided Magnum had never owned any interest. We filed a lawsuit against the new operator on Magnum’s behalf and won summary judgment recognizing Magnum’s property interests and awarding Magnum over $5 million in damages and attorney’s fees. The operator appealed to the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals, which affirmed the trial court’s judgment in Magnum’s favor. The operator then sought review in the Supreme Court of Texas, where we were again successful.