Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Griffin v. Amerada Petroleum Corp.

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division

February 17, 2017

Griffin, et al
v.
Amerada Petroleum Corporation et al

          MEMORANDUM RULING

          CAROL B. WHITEHURST UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before 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.

         I. Background

         Plaintiffs filed this complaint seeking unpaid royalties that were allegedly owed to their father, Morel Griffin, [1] 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)[2]; 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.[3] 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.

         Defendants 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:

         ¶4. 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.

         ¶5. 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, ¶ 2(a)-(b).

         ¶6. 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, ¶¶ 3-5.

         ¶8. Morel Griffin died on March 5, 1976. R. 53-2 at 11:25; R. 53-3 at 10:14.

         ¶9. 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 30:14-31:11.

         ¶10. Dorothy Joachain relied on her brother to handle her claims at issue in this lawsuit. R. 53-3 at 20:1-18.

         ¶11. 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.

         ¶12. Around the same time, Griffin hired an attorney to represent him with respect to these claims. Id. at 41:4-23.

         ¶13. 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.

         ¶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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.