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Family Sues Texas for Stealing Mineral Rights

by Elizabeth Alford on September 28, 2015

The rich minerals of the Rio Grande are in the middle of a modern day lawsuit after they were allegedly stolen by the state of Texas in the 1870s.

Related: Determination of Heirs – Mineral Rights Forum

Heirs of Joaquin Galan filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas , its General Land Office and Commissioner George P. Bush, and the Texas School Land Board in Travis County Court.in July over mineral rights and royalties from a parcel of land that they say was illegally seized by the state over two centuries ago.

There are more than 600 descendants involved who are laying claim to the rich mineral reserves in over 40,000 acres of land near Laredo. Galán’s heirs say they are entitled to revenue the state has been collecting for decades.

Lance Bruun, a South Texas oil and gas attorney said “Your land may have been stolen, but it was a long time ago, and proving it with the right documents is really difficult.”

The Austin American Statesman reported that Joaquin Galan  acquired the land through a Palafox land grant sometime before 1804 and that Texas “canceled or revoked the 1870 patent, without benefit of a judicial proceeding, in 1874.” The Galans say the family’s property “was taken without due process of law.”

Fights over Spanish land grants in Texas are not uncommon and can drag on for decades. Such cases are often are decided in favor of the modern states.

 

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