United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
PARDEE MINERALS, LLC, ET AL.
L. HORNSBY MAG. JUDGE.
A. DOUGHTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings to
Dismiss Crossclaims of EP Energy E & P Company, L.P.
(“EP”) [Doc. No. 64] filed by Defendants in
crossclaim Pardee Minerals, LLC (“Pardee”) and
Michael Carnes, Suzanne Carnes, Carnes Oil Corp., Carnes
Texas, Ltd., Richard P. deCamara, and James S. Thigpen
(“the Carnes Group”). EP filed a memorandum in
opposition to the motion. [Doc. No. 72]. Pardee and the
Carnes Group filed a reply memorandum in support of the
motion. [Doc. No. 78]. For the following reasons, the motion
ALLEGED FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
a dispute over mineral servitudes. In 1971, the Pardee
Company sold over 8, 000 acres of non-contiguous tracts of
property in Bienville Parish to Willamette Industries, Inc.
(“Willamette”). Pardee, in the act of sale,
reserved all of its mineral rights under the properties,
thereby establishing a mineral servitude on each of the
several tracts. [Doc. No. 1, Complaint, ¶¶ 9, 12].
One of the tracts contains approximately 1, 260 acres and is
at issue in this suit. Id. at ¶ 13.
Co. (“Weyerhaeuser”) is the successor to
Willamette. Id. at ¶ 10. Weyerhaeuser contends
that the Pardee mineral servitude was extinguished by the
prescription of nonuse in 1999. Despite this alleged
extinguishment, Pardee granted a mineral lease on the land in
January 2001 to Carnes Oil Corporation. Carnes assigned the
lease to EP, which established units that affected the
property and began to operate wells within those units.
Wildhorse Resources, II LLC (“Wildhorse”) took
over EP's role as operator of the units in 2013.
3, 2017, Weyerhaeuser filed a Complaint in this Court against
Pardee, the Carnes Group, and Wildhorse, asserting that the
lawsuit was brought pursuant to the federal Declaratory
Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201, et seq.,
and under state law, including La. Rev. Stat. §
30:10(A)(3) and the Louisiana Civil Code. In its Complaint,
Weyerhaeuser seeks a declaration from the Court that the
servitude was extinguished by the running of the prescription
of nonuse on or before December 21, 1999, an award of damages
for unpaid proceeds of production attributable to gas and oil
production since that date, an award of damages for bad faith
possession, damages for enrichment without cause, and other
filed an answer in which it denied the servitude was
extinguished. EP also filed cross claims against Pardee and
the Carnes Group and prayed that, if Weyerhaeuser is
successful, those Defendants be ordered to return all royalty
payments that EP made to them. EP alleges:
On January 23, 2001, Pardee Resources Group, Inc.
(predecessor to Defendant-in-Cross Pardee) granted an Oil,
Gas and Mineral Lease to Carnes Oil Corporation
(“Carnes Lease”), wherein Pardee leased
approximately 1, 160 acres in Bienville Parish, Louisiana.
Pardee's rights to grant the Carnes Lease derived from
its status as a mineral servitude owner on the leased
Carnes Oil Corporation assigned all of its interests in the
Carnes Lease to El Paso Production Company (predecessor to
Plaintiff-in-Cross EP) by January 1, 2003.
Following the assignment of the Carnes Lease, El Paso drilled
a series of wells (“El Paso Wells”) on the