Texas Jury Awards Over Two Million in Texas Natural Gas Royalties Case
Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) May 27, 2014 – A Texas jury awarded $2.78 million in a lawsuit over natural gas royalties that has lasted for years.
The Zapata County jury handed down the verdict for damages and attorney fees against Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and a subsidiary, and for Wahatoya, Ltd. and Betsy Mecom, the owner of Los Corralitos Ranch. Wahatoya and Mecom alleged that Anadarko and its subsidiary, Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas Onshore LP, failed to pay appropriate royalties on more than 100 wells located on their land in South Texas.
“Lawsuits over oil and gas royalties can be complex,” said Gregory D. Jordan, a Texas oil and gas attorney with the Law Offices of Gregory D. Jordan in Austin, Texas. “Aside from a myriad of legal issues involved in proving their case, royalty owners often have to analyze reams of accounting information to determine whether improper deductions were taken.”
The parties presented their closing arguments on April 7, and the 10-woman, two-man jury deliberated for three hours before finding for the plaintiffs.
An attorney for Wahatoya Ltd. said that the case took years in part because of the need to assemble accounting information for more than 100 wells. The plaintiffs presented two different price scenarios to jurors, one in which the defendants owed $2.3 million and one in which they owed $11 million. According to plaintiff’s attorneys, Anadarko and its subsidiary made $230 million from the leases. Anadarko presented a scenario to the jury in which it did not owe the plaintiffs any money.
The defendants are expected to file an appeal with the Fourth Court of Appeals in San Antonio.