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2013 North Dakota Law Review
Energy Law Symposium
October 24, 2013
8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Baker Courtroom
Approved for 6 CLE North Dakota - free
The UND Law School ND Law Review hosted a one-day seminar on Energy Law. The program was sponsored by Crowley Fleck PLLP.
Schedule of Presenters:
Water law and the mineral estate, Reep v. State and Brigham v. North Dakota Board of University and School Lands
Ms. Rogers' talk will focus on the impact of the common law doctrines of accretion, erosion, reliction and avulsion on the mineral estate boundaries and the mineral benefits in the context of riparian lands abutting navigable streams. She will discuss how the mineral estate is divided between the riparian landowner and the river bed owner, the State, and the question of whether riparian doctrines shift the mineral estate boundaries.
Shannon Rogers is an Associate Attorney at Camrud, Maddock, Olson & Larson, Ltd., Grand Forks, North Dakota. She received her Bachelors of Science in Natural Resource Management, minoring in Business Management and Spanish from Colorado State University. She received her Juris Doctorate with honors from the University Of Wyoming College Of Law.
Duhig beyond Texas, a comparison of overconveying rules among states
This presentation will explain the famous Texas case of Duhig v. Peavy-Moore Lumber Co., where the Supreme Court of Texas first addressed the over-conveyancing of mineral interests. To emphasize a basic understanding of Duhig principles, the presentation will include explanations of numerous hypothetical situations. Finally, the presentation will include a comparison of how fourteen oil producing states address over-conveyancing issues in their own respective legal systems
Zachary Gaver is an Associate at Steptoe & Johnson. He received his Bachelors of Art from Miami University and his Juris Doctorate from Capital University. He has been with Steptoe & Johnson since 2013 and he practices in the area of energy and mineral title law.
The Class Action Lawsuit in North Dakota—Does it Have Any Relevance for Royalty Owners?
A class action lawsuit for failure to pay royalties properly, often utilized by mineral royalty owners as a bastion against the stronger, better financed oil company, has long been successful in states such as Oklahoma, but no longer as much in states such as Texas. In 2003, Texas' tort reform proved to be a death knell for royalty owners suits. While much of Texas' revisions deal with reform to medical malpractice suits, some of the most pertinent provisions for royalty owners are those pertaining to the award of attorney fees. The 2003 Act requires that fees be calculated on a lodestar basis and that then the awarded attorney fees cannot be adjusted higher than four times the lodestar. In addition, in cases where non-cash awards are made, the attorneys must receive the same proportion of cash and non-cash awards as do the class. Professor Fritze will discuss how these issues might be addressed in North Dakota.
Christine Fritze is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at the University of North Dakota School of Law, teaching classes including Natural Resources Law, Advanced Topics in Oil and Gas, and Elder Law. Professor Fritze recently earned an L.L.M. from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in International Energy, Natural Resources, and Indigenous Peoples.
By the hand of God, the
Lease disputes remain a hot topic in western North Dakota oil and gas litigation. A question coming up with increasing regularity in disputes between oil companies and mineral owners is whether the "force majeure" clause applies to save an oil and gas lease. Commonly referred to as the "act of God" clause, oil and gas companies are beginning to use the force majeure clause as a catch-all savings provision in an attempt to hold leases where they have been unable to timely engage in drilling operations. There is limited case law in North Dakota to guide litigants as to whether the force majeure clause operates to hold their lease. Recent cases out of New York, including the much publicized Aukema v. Chesapeake Appalachia, dealing with that state's moratorium on hydraulic fracturing indicate the force majeure clause in oil and gas leases may not be as broad as oil companies envision them.
Mr. Swanson This lecture will focus on the growing importance of the force majeure clause in oil and gas leases, and discuss what a mineral owner can do to protect themselves against the unintended consequence of allowing the force majeure clause to turn every event into an "Act of God" that extends their lease indefinitely without production or drilling operations.
Josh Swanson is an Attorney at Vogel Law Firm. His practice centers primarily on litigation, focusing on energy and natural resource law, commercial litigation, and plaintiff's law. Joshua received undergraduate degrees in political science and history, with honors, from North Dakota State University. He went on to graduate magna cum laude, as one of the McGrath North scholarship recipients, from the Creighton University School of Law.
A.G. Golden v. SM Energy Company: defining the scope of title examination with respect to assignments taken in context of pre-existing affirmative obligations imposed by predecessors in title
The North Dakota Supreme Court recently decided A.G. Golden v. SM Energy Company in which it addressed whether, and how an assignee might assume an affirmative obligation. The Court's decision raises a number of questions which bear upon the scope of title, particularly with regard to questions of what constitutes intent and notice. Ms. Grobler will address when an assignee demonstrates an intent to be bound by an affirmative obligation and when an assignee may be charged with notice of an affirmative obligation.
Melissa Grobler is an Associate at Steptoe & Johnson. She received her Bachelors of Arts from the University of Texas and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Houston. She has conducted extensive mineral title examination and performed due diligence for multi-million dollar acquisition.
Coal, a comparison of coal in West Virginia and North Dakota
Many of the issues in coal energy law mirror the major issues in energy law related to oil and gas litigation. Ms. Griffith will address the differences between North Dakota and Appalachia in regards to energy law related to coal.
Morgan Griffith is Of Counsel at Steptoe & Johnson. She received her Bachelors of Art from Denison University and her Juris Doctorate from West Virginia University. She has been at Steptoe Johnson since 2012 and concentrates her practice in the area of energy law. She has handled matters involving mineral acquisitions including large due diligence projects