Sitting for the court: Justice Paul W. Green, Justice Nathan L. Hecht, Justice Phil Johnson, Justice David Medina, Justice Dale Wainwright, Justice Don R. Willett, Justice Eva Guzman, Justice Debra Lehrmann
(Chief Justice Jefferson not sitting)
Betty Yvon Lesley, et al. v. Texas Veterans Land Board, et al.
from Erath County and the 11th District Court of Appeals, Eastland
For petitioners: Chris Aycock and Charles Tighe, Midland
For respondent: Bluegreen Southwest One, Laura H. Burney, San Antonio
For respondents lot owners: Stephen E. Haynes, Brownwood
The issue is whether a residential developer holding executive mineral rights breached its duty to other mineral interest-holders by failing to lease oil and gas rights or by using restrictive covenants to prevent the mineral interestsí development. In this action, arising after the Barnett Shale exploration and development west of Fort Worth, lesser mineral interest-holders sued the developer and lot owners (including the Veterans Land Board) to declare as unenforceable covenants prohibiting oil-and-gas drilling in a ranchette community. Non-executive interest-holders also contend the developerís refusal to lease the mineral rights breached a duty to lease owed to lesser mineral interest-holders. The trial court found for the non-executive interest-holders. But the appeals court held the executive mineral interest-holder only owed lesser interest-holders a duty against self-dealing if it decided to lease mineral rights. The court of appeals also reversed the trial courtís ruling that the Veterans Land Board did not have sovereign immunity because the interest-holders sought damages.
This advisory serves only as an abbreviated guide to oral argument. Summaries are prepared by the Courtís staff attorney for public information and reflect his judgment alone on facts and legal issues and in no way represent the Courtís opinion about case merits.
Texas Supreme Court advisory
Contact: Osler McCarthy,
Staff Attorney for Public Information
(512) 463.1441 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org