Solid Appellate Work Saves Oil and Gas Client Sued for $1 Million


MehaffyWeber is proud to announce a recent appellate success for our client. In Claybar v. Samson Exploration, LLC, Claybar entered into a contract allowing our client, Samson Exploration, and Kinder Morgan to drill for oil and gas on their property. During extraction, an equipment failure damaged the property. While Claybar was able to resolve his issues with Kinder Morgan, Samson Exploration appealed first to the court of appeals and then to the Supreme Court of Texas to determine whether our client was contractually required to indemnify Claybar for his fees and costs associated with pursuing the claim for damages.

Our client, an oil and gas operator, was sued for approximately $1 million in attorney’s fees and expenses incurred by Claybar, the landowner, in prosecuting his lawsuit against our client and Kinder Morgan, the company that operated a natural gas treating plant on the landowner’s property. Our client and the landowner had signed an easement agreement, which authorized our client to drill wells, conduct oil and gas operations on the property, and contract with the natural gas treating company. The original lawsuit followed an amine spill on the property. The landowner settled with the natural gas treating company, but he continued to seek recovery of attorney’s fees and expenses from our client based on an indemnity clause in the easement agreement.

MehaffyWeber filed a motion for summary judgment, contending that the indemnity clause in the easement agreement did not provide indemnity for the attorney’s fees and expenses the landowner incurred in prosecuting his lawsuit against MehaffyWeber’s client and the natural gas treater. The trial court granted MehaffyWeber’s summary judgment and dismissed the case. Claybar appealed and the court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s ruling. Claybar petitioned The Texas Supreme Court to hear his case, and the Court denied the landowner’s petition for review. This ensured our oil and gas client remained free and clear of any obligation to pay the $1 million in fees and expenses.

Texas Oil and Gas Lawyers

Our dedicated appellate team worked alongside our experienced energy litigators to ensure our client would not have to pay $1 million. Our lawyers are proud to represent Texas oil and gas companies and have done so for over 70 years.