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Lemar v. Garner - 121 Tex. 502, 50 S.W.2d 769 (1932)

Rule:

Rents or royalties payable under oil and gas mineral leases are severable and separable from the ownership of the surface estate, are property rights, and are assignable by the owner thereof.

Facts:

J. W. Garner filed this suit in the district court of Pecos County, Texas, against H. E. Lemar and others to remove cloud from title to his lands, alleging that the said defendants are, under alleged leases, claiming interests to the mineral rights in said lands and claiming the right to collect and continue to collect rentals on said lands and appropriate same to their own use, when in fact they belonged to him as the "owner of the soil."

Defendants, plaintiffs in error in the Supreme Court, answered by general demurrers, general denial, pleas of not guilty and that the leases to said minerals were made to them by the then owners, G. S. White and others, and that plaintiff (defendant in error) purchased said surface estate subsequent to the making of said leases with a full knowledge of the mineral deeds and the surface estate was impressed by an express reservation with the rights, titles and interests contained in said leases.

The trial court, hearing the case without a jury, rendered judgment for defendants Lemar et al. The Court of Civil Appeals reversed this judgment and rendered judgment in favor of Garner (38 S. W. (2d) 161), whereupon Lemar et al. applied to the Supreme Court for a writ of error which has been granted.

Issue:

Were the oil and gas expressly reserved and separated from the surface estate leading to the conclusion that Garner had no title, interest or estate therein during the terms of the leases?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

The Court reversed the appeals court’s decision and affirmed the ruling of the trial court. Garner was not entitled to any recovery because his deed expressly reserved and separated the oil and gas rights from the surface estate, in accordance with the provisions of the Relinquishment Act.

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