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Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of Am. v. Pool

Court of Appeals of Texas, Seventh District, Amarillo

October 12, 2000, Decided

NO. 07-99-0429-CV

Opinion

 [*623]  This dispute is between parties to a gas lease in which the lessors claim that the lease has terminated due to a cessation in production. Appellants Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America (NGPL), MidCon Gas Services Corp. (MidCon), and Chesapeake Panhandle Limited Partnership (Chesapeake) appeal from a judgment rendered against them in favor of appellees 1 that the subject gas lease terminated pursuant to the terms of the habendum clause of the lease and which awarded damages and attorney's fees.

 [**2]  [*624]   In 13 points, appellants claim that (1) the trial court erred in granting summary judgment that the lease terminated because of cessation of production; (2) they established the affirmative defense of laches as a matter of law; (3) they established the affirmative defense of revivor as a matter of law; (4) they established title by adverse possession as a matter of law; (5) the trial court erred in awarding damages for bad faith trespass since appellants' possession of the mineral estate following termination of the lease was permissive; (6) the trial court erred in admitting the deposition testimony of Don Darsey; (7) the evidence was legally and factually insufficient to support the finding of fraud and the award of exemplary damages; (8) the evidence was legally and factually insufficient to support the finding that appellants produced gas in bad faith; the trial court erred in awarding (9) damages for the four-year period preceding the filing of the lawsuit; (10) attorney's fees; (11) prejudgment interest; (12) a judgment jointly and severally for actual damages; and (13) to appellees the well and lease equipment. For the reasons set forth below, we modify the judgment and, as [**3]  modified, affirm it.

On January 5, 1937, J. T. Sneed, Jr. and Elizabeth Sneed Pool, each individually and as independent executors of the estate of Zella Sneed, Deceased, executed a gas mining lease in favor of Texoma Natural Gas Company covering Section 8, Section 9, the southwest quarter of Section 7, and 200 acres of the southeast portion of Section 6 in Block B-12, D&P Ry. Co. Survey, Moore County, Texas. The lease was to remain in force subject to other provisions in the lease "pending the commencement and continuation of drilling operations on said land as hereinafter provided, and as long thereafter as natural gas is produced and marketed from any well on said land." Appellants are successors-in-interest to Texoma Natural Gas Company.

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30 S.W.3d 618 *; 2000 Tex. App. LEXIS 6903 **; 151 Oil & Gas Rep. 71

NATURAL GAS PIPELINE COMPANY OF AMERICA, ET AL., APPELLANTS v. JOSEPH H. POOL, ET AL., APPELLEES

Subsequent History: Petition for review granted: Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of Am. v. Pool, 2001 Tex. LEXIS 125 (Tex. Dec. 13, 2001).

Petition for review granted by Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of Am. v. Pool, 2001 Tex. LEXIS 125 (Tex., Dec. 13, 2001)Reversed by Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of Am. v. Pool, 120 S.W.3d 317, 2003 Tex. LEXIS 246, 46 Tex. Sup. Ct. J. 1077 (Tex., 2003)

Reversed by, Judgment entered by Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of Am. v. Pool, 2003 Tex. LEXIS 526, 47 Tex. Sup. Ct. J. 153 (Tex., 2003)

Prior History:  [**1]  FROM THE 69TH DISTRICT COURT OF MOORE COUNTY; NO. 98-36; HONORABLE RON ENNS, JUDGE.

Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of Am. v. Pool, 30 S.W.3d 639, 2000 Tex. App. LEXIS 6902 (Tex. App. Amarillo, 2000)

Disposition: As modified, judgment affirmed.

CORE TERMS

lease, terminated, cessation, attorney's fees, appellants', trespass, trial court, royalty, damages, summary judgment, no writ, records, adverse possession, appellant's claim, mineral, laches, orders, deposition, matter of law, lawsuit, oil, declaratory judgment, bad faith, notice, trespass to try title, affirmative defense, gas production, gas lease, repudiation, modified

Civil Procedure, Judgments, Summary Judgment, Evidentiary Considerations, General Overview, Burdens of Proof, Movant Persuasion & Proof, Evidentiary Considerations, Scintilla Rule, Motions for Summary Judgment, Partial Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Genuine Disputes, Materiality of Facts, Admiralty & Maritime Law, Maritime Contracts, Opposing Materials, Appropriateness, Energy & Utilities Law, Federal Oil & Gas Leases, Extensions & Terminations, Abandonment & Termination, Contracts Law, Types of Contracts, Lease Agreements, Royalties, Discovery, Exploration & Recovery, Leases & Licenses, Royalty Clauses, Savings Clauses, Shut In Royalty Clauses, Forfeiture Clauses, Jury Trials, Right to Jury Trial, Actions in Equity, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Affirmative Defenses, Laches, Entry of Judgments, Revival of Judgments, Assignment, Release & Surrender, Oil, Gas & Mineral Interests, Purchase Contracts, Division & Transfer Orders, Real Property Law, Adverse Possession, Elements of Adverse Claims, Remedies, Forfeitures, Notice Requirement, Habendum Clauses, Landlord & Tenant, Landlord's Remedies & Rights, Power to Reenter & Terminate, Termination Notices, Mining Industry, Mineral Leases, Mining, Torts, Trespass to Real Property, Torts, Duty On Premises, Trespassers, Premises & Property Liability, Trespass to Real Property, Defenses, Consent, Personalty & Realty Interests, Purchase & Sale, Evidence, Hearsay, Exceptions, Former Testimony of Unavailable Declarants, Relevance, Exclusion of Relevant Evidence, Confusion, Prejudice & Waste of Time, Relevant Evidence, Appeals, Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion, Inferences & Presumptions, Inferences, De Novo Review, Substantial Evidence, Governments, Fiduciaries, Business Torts, Fraud & Misrepresentation, Affirmative Duty to Act, Types of Special Relationships, Taxation Issues, Criminal Law & Procedure, Exclusionary Rule, Exceptions to Exclusionary Rule, Good Faith, Special Proceedings, Eminent Domain Proceedings, Jury Trials, Legislation, Statute of Limitations, Extensions & Revivals, Statute of Limitations, Theft & Related Offenses, Burglary & Criminal Trespass, Criminal Trespass, Time Limitations, Intentional Torts, Conversion, Defenses, Declaratory Judgments, State Declaratory Judgments, Title Quality, Adverse Claim Actions, Uniform Declaratory Judgment Act, Deeds, Validity Requirements, Enforceability, Discretionary Jurisdiction, Attorney Fees & Expenses, Basis of Recovery, Statutory Awards, Estates, Present Estates, Leasehold & Real Estates, Lease Cancellation, Conveyances, Adverse Possession & Trespass, Costs & Attorney Fees, Damages, Reviewability of Lower Court Decisions, Preservation for Review, Reviewability, Waiver, Admission of Evidence, Preservation for Review, Failure to Object, Procedural Matters, Multiple Defendants, Joint & Several Liability, Business & Corporate Law, Corporate Formation, Corporate Existence, Powers & Purpose