Has anyone else ever run across this before? I don't have the full story of the situation, but this is the question that is coming up.
I would say the owner of the mineral estate does not need the consent of the surface owner to enter. There is an implied easement and right to develop. This, of course, means the right to enter is limted as necessary for certain purposes and perhaps to certain areas. But, the answer might depend on how much of the mineral estate is owned.
Given that "entry" means intrusion of the entire body, I am having a hard time imagining how a person could enter into/onto the mineral estate. Maybe if the person went into a coal mine without permission?
Maybe? I think the mineral owners may have a right to put up buildings used for production. Maybe the surface owner could trespass in those? Maybe burglary? All in all, though, it sounds like a matter for the civil courts to resolve.
If the surface owner is going into the oil strata, it would seem that there would be a better charge, like theft. However, there might be a situation where the surface owner wanted to see if anything was down there (for a friend), drilled, found nothing, and told the friend NOT to lease or buy the rights from the mineral owner. Depends upon the facts, I guess.
This question is worded a bit strange, but that's because the situation is a bit strange- We're actually in a situation where the surface owner wishes to issue a criminal trespass warning against the mineral owner.
The allegation, at least as it's currently understood by our office, is that the mineral owner is entering the land in ways and for reasons not related to production. Essentially, mineral owner wants to just come out and ride around the land because he enjoys the peace and quiet (and because it pisses the surface owner off). Because of that, the surface owner wishes to bar the mineral owner from entry. It's my understanding that any entry to the surface estate by the mineral estate owner MUST be a) connected to production and b) reasonable. Reviewing my BarBri course notes seems to back that up, but there's no citations to any relevant law in the BarBri stuff.
Any of you West Texas folks seen something like this?
Also- Hi John!
1) Possible (no-prosecutor-involved) Solution: Let the surface owner seek an injunction against the mineral estate owner's conduct.
2) Caselaw: "It is a well established doctrine from the earliest days of the common law that the right to the minerals carries with it the right to enter and extract them, and all other such incidents thereto as are necessary to be used for getting and enjoying them. This common law right was created 'because a grant or reservation of minerals would be wholly worthless if the grantee or reserver could not enter upon the land in order to explore for and extract the minerals granted or reserved.' Although the mineral estate is the dominant estate, the rights implied in favor of the mineral estate are to be exercised with due regard for the rights of the surface owner. . . . The burden of proof to show that the use of the surface by the (mineral estate's)lessee is not reasonably necessary is upon the surface owner. " Tarrant County Water Control & Improvement Dist. No. 1 v. Haupt, 854 S.W.2d 909, 911 (Tex. 1993) (internal citations omitted).
Thanks! That's pretty much exactly what we were looking for.
|Powered by Social Strata|
© TDCAA, 2001. All Rights Reserved.