Justia Energy, Oil & Gas Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in South Dakota Supreme Court
In re Keystone XL Pipeline
The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the circuit court affirming the decision of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission issuing an order accepting the certification of TransCanada Keystone Pipeline LP that it continued to meet permit conditions, holding that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction to hear Appellants’ appeals. The Commission granted a permit to TransCanada to construct the Keystone XL Pipeline in South Dakota. None of the parties in that proceeding appealed the order issuing a permit. Because TransCanada was unable to commence construction within four years, it certified that it continued to meet the permit conditions, as required by S.D. Codified Laws 49-41B-27. After conducting an evidentiary hearing, the Commission accepted the certification. Appellants - the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Yankton Sioux Tribe, and Dakota Rural Action - each appealed. The circuit court affirmed. The Supreme Court consolidated the appeals, vacated the circuit court’s decision, and dismissed the appeal, holding that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeals. View "In re Keystone XL Pipeline" on Justia Law
Stern Oil Co. v. Brown
Defendant-Appellant James Brown owned interests in several businesses. In late 2004, he acquired and redesigned two convenience stores on opposite sides of Exit 2 on Interstate 29 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. Plaintiff-Appellee Stern Oil, a fuel distributor for Exxon Mobil Corporation, contacted Brown while he was remodeling the properties. Although Brown was negotiating with another fuel distributor, he ultimately elected to do business with Stern Oil. When Brown notified Stern Oil that he would no longer purchase its fuel, Stern Oil initiated this breach of contract action. Brown filed a counterclaim, alleging fraudulent inducement. Stern Oil argued that Brown contracted to purchase a minimum amount of fuel for a ten-year period. The circuit court granted Stern Oil's motion for summary judgment on both the breach of contract claim and on Brown's counterclaim, but the issue of damages proceeded to trial. After trial, the circuit court awarded Stern Oil eight years of lost profits. Brown appealed. Upon review, the Supreme Court reversed the circuit court's grant of summary judgment. Both Brown's fraudulent inducement counterclaim and Stern Oil's breach of contract claim involved disputed material facts. Therefore, the Court concluded the circuit court erred in granting Stern Oil summary judgment. The case was remanded for further proceedings. View "Stern Oil Co. v. Brown" on Justia Law
Clarkson & Co. v. Continental Res., Inc.
Clarkson and Company owned and leased land on which Continental Resources conducted oil and gas exploration activities. Continental agreed to pay Clarkson for use of and damage to Clarkson's property. Clarkson sued Continental, seeking declaratory relief to clarify the terms of the payment agreement Continental and Clarkson made. The trial court granted judgment to Clarkson for $164,102. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding, inter alia, that (1) Clarkson's claim was not barred by laches; (2) the agreement called for annual escalation of road use payments; (3) roads on land that Clarkson leased in 1981 and subsequently purchased were subject to the road use payment provision of the agreement; and (4) Clarkson was not entitled to a road use payment for a portion of existing road that Continental used to construct a new road. View "Clarkson & Co. v. Continental Res., Inc." on Justia Law