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Texas Mineral Owners Face Statute of Limitations to Prove Fraud

by Elizabeth Alford on April 11, 2016

One family’s eight year court battle over unpaid royalty payments is finally over as an appellate judge levels the final verdict: you waited too long.

Related: Mineral Rights Litigation Swells Across Country

The family of Charles Hooks III has been battling with Samson Lone Star LP  since 2008 over unpaid royalty payments for oil and gas leases on their properties in Jefferson and Hardin counties. The family claimed Samson committed fraud and a trial court agreed, awarding the family more than $21 million.

In the appeals process, the courts all agreed that the evidence wasn’t enough to support the jury’s award  and that Hooks had waited too long to file suit, eclipsing a four-year statute of limitations. The fight came to an end last month, when a Texas Appeals judge gave the family the option of accepting downsized damages or receive a new trial.

“We conclude that the evidence is insufficient to support the trial court’s award of $20,081,638.07 for fraud damages, but the evidence is sufficient to support an award of $17,461,162.57 for fraud damages. We suggest a remittitur of $2,620,475.50,” the court wrote, instructing Hooks he has 20 days to file and accept the remittitur offer. “If the remittitur is not timely filed, then we will let stand our current judgment reversing the trial court’s judgment and remanding the cause for a new trial.”

The case had made its way to the state’s high court, which concluded that the four-year statute of limitations began when the family discovered the fraud and that the family did their due diligence in checking public records.

 

 

Read more at Law360.c0m

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