$1.6 Million Damages Awarded to Landowner for Gas Pipeline

25 03 2014

Lawsuits

MARCH 24, 2014

Jury awards Johnson County landowner $1.6 million for pipeline easement

A Johnson County judge last week last month ordered a pipeline company to pay more than $1.6 million for a property easement that had previously been valued just under $80,000. The easement dated to 2007, and with back interest and expenses the jury’s valuation came to $2.1 million.

According to court records, Peregrine Pipeline sought a 6,400-foot-long easement across a 99-acre parcel owned by Eagle Ford Land Partners L.P. for installation of a 16-inch natural gas pipeline. When the property owner and Peregrine could not agree on a value, Peregrine condemned the 20-foot-wide strip of land under eminent domain, and in October 2007 a special commissioners court set a value of $79,979 for the easement. That award included a permanent easement on the 20-foot easement, which altogether covered nearly 3 acres, and a temporary easement on a 55-foot-wide strip used only during construction.

But after a one-week trial in February, a Johnson County jury valued those two easements at $282,590. The six-person jury then found that the market value of the rest of the property was diminished by $1,350,410, for a total award of $1.633 million. With interest accruing at 5 percent annually, Judge Robert Dohoney issued his order on March 20 requiring Peregrine to pay a total of $2.1 million to Eagle Ford Land Partners.

According to a statement issued by Eagle Ford’s attorney, Austin lawyer Luke Ellis, “this verdict sends a strong message that pipeline easements often cause significant damages to property beyond the easement area.” Ellis said “many Texas landowners don’t realize that they have a constitutional right to seek just compensation for such damages.” Peregrine plans to appeal, according to a statement from Ellis’ firm.

— Jim Fuquay

Posted at 02:13 PM in Johnson County, Lawsuits, Pipelines | Permalink | Comments (0)
MARCH 07, 2014

Fort Worth landowner prevails in Chesapeake royalty dispute

Chesapeake Energy improperly deducted expenses from royalty payments and violated other terms of its drilling lease with a prominent Fort Worth family, a state appeals court ruled this week in the latest development of several such suits working their way through the legal system. The Fourth Court of Appeals in San Antonio upheld a Tarrant County court decision that found Chesapeake breached the terms of its lease with Martha Rowan Hyder, who represented the estate of her late husband, Elton M. Hyder Jr., and their children. The lower court had awarded the Hyders about $700,000 in unpaid royalties, plus interest and attorney’s fees that pushed total damages to nearly $1 million.

The Hyders filed their suit in 2010, one of several in recent years accusing Chesapeake of not adequately paying royalties from its natural gas production in the Barnett Shale. State Judge Melody Wilkinson in 2012 found that Chesapeake breached the terms of Hyder’s lease and awarded damages, which the appeals court affirmed Wednesday. David Drez of the Fort Worth office of the Wick Phillips law firm, who represented the Hyders, said both court rulings recognized the validity of the negotiated terms of the family’s lease. The Hyders in 2004 signed a mineral rights lease on about 1,000 acres in Tarrant and Johnson counties with Four Sevens Oil Co., which assigned the lease to Chesapeake in 2006, according to court filings.

Chesapeake, through a spokesman at its Oklahoma City headquarters, declined to comment on the case.

For more, see Saturday’s Star-Telegram.

— Jim Fuquay

Posted at 06:17 PM in Chesapeake Energy, Lawsuits, Leasing, Royalty payments | Permalink | Comments (0)

Read more here: http://blogs.star-telegram.com/barnett_shale/lawsuits/#storylink=cpy

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