United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
B. WHITEHURST UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by
defendants, Exxon Mobil Corporation
(“ExxonMobil”) and Hess Corporation
(“Hess”) (collectively referred to as
“Defendants”) [Rec. Doc. 53], Plaintiffs, Anthony
Griffin and Dorothy Joachain's, Memorandum in Opposition
[Rec Doc. 71] and Defendant's Reply thereto [Rec. Doc.
74]. For the reasons that follow, the Motion will be granted.
filed this complaint seeking unpaid royalties that were
allegedly owed to their father, Morel Griffin,  pursuant to an
oil, gas, and mineral lease that their great-grandfather,
Jack Griffin, and several other members of the Griffin family
granted on October 19, 1935, covering property located in
Eola, Louisiana, in Avoyelles Parish (the
“Lease”). R. 9, ¶¶ 2, 38; R. 9-1
(Lease); R. 53-2, Depo. Of Griffin,
77:10-78:3; R. 53-3, Depo. of Joachain, 60:9-12.
Plaintiffs allege that production occurred on the leased
property between 1940 and 1969, during which time several
members of the Griffin family received royalty payments.
R. 9 at ¶¶ 14, 16, 17, 20, 38; R. 53-2 at
77:10-78:3; R. 53-3 at 60:9-12. Plaintiffs further allege
that their father, Morel Griffin, did not receive royalty
payments. R. 9, ¶ 20. Plaintiffs confirmed in
their depositions that the only claims asserted against
defendants in this litigation are for unpaid royalties that
were allegedly owed to their father under the Lease. R. 53-2,
77:10-78:3, R.53-3, 60:9-12.
have produced affidavits and deposition transcripts to
support their Motion For Summary Judgment in compliance with
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c). R. 53, Exhs.
A-E. In their Opposition to the Motion, Plaintiffs filed
a “Statement of Uncontested Facts.” R. 71-1. This
Court's Local Rule 56.2 states “[e]ach copy of the
papers opposing a motion for summary judgment shall include a
separate, short and concise statement of the material facts
as to which there exists a genuine issue to be tried. All
material facts set forth in the statement required to be
served by the moving party will be deemed admitted, for
purposes of the motion, unless controverted as required by
this rule.” Local Rule, LR56.2. Here,
Plaintiffs filed a list of three “Uncontested Facts,
” but filed no “separate, short and concise
statement of the material facts as to which there exists a
genuine issue to be tried.” R. 71-1. Thus,
because the material facts set forth by Defendants have not
been controverted, there is no genuine issue of material fact
as to Defendants' “Uncontested Material Facts,
” R. 53-7, which state:
Hess' corporate predecessors are the only entities that
held an interest in the Lease at issue-ExxonMobil never held
an interest-and any such interest [of Hess] was released on
March 5, 1954. R. 53-4, Affidavit of Bradley
Broussard, ¶¶ 5, 6.
Hess divested itself of all its right, title and interests in
all Louisiana onshore oil and gas producing assets as of
April 1, 2006, and thus, as of April 1, 2006 at the latest,
neither Hess nor any of its predecessors or subsidiaries held
an ownership interest or conducted operations in Avoyelles
Parish. R. 53-5, Affidavit of Carl Cody Moerer,
Neither ExxonMobil nor any of its predecessors or
subsidiaries held an ownership interest or conducted
operations in Avoyelles Parish since the late 1990s. R.
53-6, Affidavit of Donald P. Brown, ¶¶
Morel Griffin died on March 5, 1976. R. 53-2 at 11:25; R.
53-3 at 10:14.
Plaintiffs' mother informed them in 1983 or 1984 that
their father was allegedly owed the royalty payments that are
at issue in this lawsuit. R. 53-2 at 37:25-38:15; R. 53-3 at
Dorothy Joachain relied on her brother to handle her claims
at issue in this lawsuit. R. 53-3 at 20:1-18.
Between the years of 1983 and 1984, Anthony Griffin visited
the Clerk of Court's office in Avoyelles Parish and the
Department of Natural Resources in Baton Rouge and researched
the oil wells located on the property from which his father
could have been owed royalties. R. 53-2 at 30:2-33:6.
Around the same time, Griffin hired an attorney to represent
him with respect to these claims. Id. at 41:4-23.
In the course of that representation, Mr. Griffin's
attorney discovered an abstract of title that Mr.
Griffin's uncle, Denell Griffin, had previously
commissioned in connection with potential oil company
operations on the property. Id. at 40:2-42:14.
Griffin then spoke with his Uncle Denell and another family
member, Lorinda Forsythe, “in reference to our
claim” and inquired as to the royalty payments ...