Justia Energy, Oil & Gas Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Trusts & Estates
Nevin, et al. v. Kennedy, et al.
Angus Kennedy owned real property and mineral interests in McKenzie County, North Dakota. In 1960, Angus and his wife, Lois, executed two deeds conveying the surface and “excepting and reserving unto the parties of the first part, their heirs, successors or assigns, all right, title and interest in and to any and all . . . minerals in or under the foregoing described lands.” Lois did not own an interest in the property when Angus and Lois Kennedy executed the deeds. Angus died in 1965, and Lois died in 1980. Angus and Lois did not have children together. Angus had six children from a previous marriage. Angus' heirs executed numerous mineral leases for the property. Lois had one child, Julia Nevin, who died in 1989. In 2016 and 2017, Julia Nevin’s surviving husband, Stanley Nevin, executed mineral leases with Northern Oil and Gas, Inc. In 2018, Stanley sued the successors in interest to Angus, alleging Lois owned half of the minerals reserved in the 1960 deeds. In response, the Angus heirs claimed Angus did not intend to reserve any minerals to Lois because she did not own an interest in the property conveyed in the 1960 deeds. The district court granted Northern Oil’s motion to intervene. Northern Oil appeals the quiet title judgment deciding Northern Oil did not own mineral interests in the McKenzie County property, arguing the district court erred in concluding the deeds at issue were ambiguous as to whether Angus intended to reserve minerals to his wife, Lois. Finding no reversible error in the trial court judgment, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "Nevin, et al. v. Kennedy, et al." on Justia Law
Farrell v. Vermont Electric Power Co.
Plaintiff David Farrell, Trustee of the David Farrell Trust, appealed the grant of summary judgment for defendants Vermont Electric Power Company and Vermont Transco (together, VELCO), the holders of an easement for the construction and operation of electrical transmission lines on plaintiff's property. Plaintiff claimed that VELCO's easement was limited to the installation and operation of transmission lines necessary for the "Queen City Tap Project." He argued that VELCO exceeded the scope of its easement by installing a second transmission line on plaintiff's property in connection with an unrelated transmission-line project. The trial court held that the easement's express terms authorized VELCO to install transmission lines unrelated to the Queen City Tap Project, and that any increased impact on plaintiff's property caused by the new line did not amount to overburdening. "VELCO's easement, by its express terms, authorized its installation of the NRP line on the Property. Such use is also consistent with the easement's purpose - the transmission of electricity - and does not impose an additional burden on the Property requiring further compensation." Accordingly, the trial court's grant of summary judgment for VELCO was affirmed. View "Farrell v. Vermont Electric Power Co." on Justia Law
Brigham Oil v. Lario Oil
Brigham Oil and Gas, L.P. ("Brigham"), appealed a partial judgment that dismissed its action against Lario Oil & Gas Company ("Lario") and Murex Petroleum Corporation ("Murex") which sought oil and gas production payments based on a claimed leasehold interest in certain mineral acres in Mountrail County. The Triple T, Inc. ("Triple"), and Christine Thompson, as sole trustee of the Navarro 2009 Living Trust Agreement, appealed an order denying their motions to intervene and to vacate the judgment. The land that contained the oil and mineral rights at issue in this case were probated in 2008 and became a part of the Navarro Trust. Late that year, the Trust executed an agreement which purported to resolve an issue over ownership of the mineral rights. In 2009, Brigham commenced this action against Lario and Murex alleging that it was entitled to a percentage of the production from the oil and mineral interests from the 2008 agreement. Brigham argued the district court erred in determining that Lario had the controlling interest in the 2008 agreement and that Brigham had no interest in the oil and gas leasehold estate in the subject property. Upon review of the lengthy trial record and the applicable legal authority, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court's judgment and order. View "Brigham Oil v. Lario Oil" on Justia Law