Caselaw Update: Royalty Checks and Implied Ratification

Under contract law generally, a party who has not expressly accepted an agreement can nevertheless be deemed to have impliedly accepted, or ratified it, by their actions. For example, a party may imply their acceptance of a contract by accepting the benefits they would receive under its terms. This principle also translates to oil and gas agreements. In Hooks v Samson Lone Star, the Texas Supreme Court held that a lessor’s acceptance of...
Read More

Lease Washouts

Lease washouts occur when operators release or allow a current lease to expire in order to get a “clean slate.” These “clean slates” take the form of a new lease that may increase net revenue interest (NRI) and/or do away with undesirable prior lease burdens and provisions. Not only is lease washout permissible in Texas, but it is usually given great deference by Texas courts.   It may seem perplexing to some that an operator can intentionally washout lease burdens such as an overriding royalty interest (ORRI) or...
Read More

Hey! That’s Not Yours! Collecting on Liens and Judgments: Part 2

Domesticating Foreign Judgments In Part 1 of this series, we covered some of the tools available to judgment-creditors in Texas seeking to enforce and collect a money judgment. What if you obtain a judgment in another state? Once the foreign judgment has been domesticated, the judgment creditor can use any method of collection or enforcement applicable to a Texas judgment. ...
Read More

Hey! That’s Not Yours! Collecting on Liens and Judgments Part 1

Part 1: Enforcing Judgments in Texas  So you’ve successfully obtained a judgment against a debtor. Now what? After investigating and locating the debtor’s assets via formal discovery or informal methods like database searches, a judgment-creditor can develop a plan for enforcement and collection. There are several tools a judgment-creditor can employ to collect on a judgment. Absent an agreement for payment between the judgment-creditor and...
Read More

Recent Travis County Case Impacts the Future of Allocation Wells

Caselaw Update: Opiela v. Railroad Commission of Texas Over the past decade, allocation wells have become both more common and more highly contested in Texas. Allocation wells straddle the borders between multiple tracts or units which are unpooled, but typically under development by the same operator. They are usually employed when more production may be gained by drilling one horizontal well along a boundary rather than separate wells...
Read More

Estate Planning Part 4: Digital Assets

Almost everyone owns some form of digital asset, and the law governing estate planning for these unique assets is still developing. A digital asset is defined as “an electronic record in which an individual has a right or interest”, (1) and includes cryptocurrency, domain names, email accounts, online banking accounts, anything stored on the cloud, and social media accounts. (2) The list is not exclusive – the term “electronic...
Read More

Estate Planning Part 3: Intestate Succession

In Part Two of this series, we considered some of the main tools used in estate planning, including wills and trusts, which serve to protect an estate and ensure distribution according to a decedent’s wishes. But what happens when a person dies without a will?   When a person dies intestate, the distribution of their estate is governed by state law. Personal property is...
Read More

Estate Planning Part 2: Tools

In Part One of this series, we discussed the importance and main objectives of estate planning, both during life and after death: to ensure that a person’s wishes and directives are clear, that their estate is protected, and property distribution complications are avoided. In Part Two, we will consider two common tools available to further those ends...
Read More

Estate Planning Part 1: Objectives

Although it may not be the most enjoyable task, the importance of planning ahead for the management of your estate at death or in the event of untimely incapacitation cannot be understated. With wills, trusts, powers of attorney, medical directives and other estate planning tools, a person can ensure that their loved ones are left with a clear plan for managing...
Read More