Author: Austin Brister

Austin represents oil and gas exploration and production companies and landowners in a wide variety of complex commercial litigation matters, including contract and property disputes, royalty disputes, breach of lease cases, lease termination/perpetuation disputes, and an array of other issues in the upstream oil and gas sector. Austin has prosecuted and defended claims in state courts and federal courts. Austin strives to find practical business solutions to complex issues, but if necessary, he works hard to implement effective strategies in the courthouse.
5Nov

Drilling Insight: Horizontal Drilling Under a Cemetery

Issue: Horizontal Drilling Under a Cemetery

Is there any legal authority which would prohibit an operator from conducting horizontal drilling operations underneath a tract of land that has been dedicated to cemetery or burial purposes?

Discussion:

Once property is dedicated to cemetery or burial purposes, there are several resulting restrictions placed on the use of the owner of that tract of land, some of which may impact oil and gas production operations.  No particular instrument or ceremony is required to dedicate a tract of land to cemetery purposes.  [1] Damon v. State, 52 S.W.2d 368, 370 (Tex. Comm’n App. 1932, holding approved); Davis v. May, 135 S.W.3d 747, 749 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2003, pet. denied). Actual use of land for burial purposes is a sufficient dedication. [2] Damon, 52 S.W.2d at 370; Op. Tex. Att’y Gen. JC-0235 (2000).  The grantee of a burial lot in a deed of conveyance does not acquire a fee-simple title. [3] Oak Park Cemetery, Inc. v. Donaldson, 148 S.W.2d 994, 998 (Tex.Civ.App.—Galveston 1940, writ dism’d judgm’t cor.).  However, property once dedicated to cemetery purposes and in use as a burial ground for the dead may not be sold either voluntarily or through judicial proceedings in such a manner as to interfere with the uses and purposes to which it has been dedicated and devoted. [4] State v. Forest Lawn Lot Owners Ass’n, 152 Tex. 41, 254 S.W.2d 87 (Tex. 1953); Davis, 135 S.W.3d at 749. Read More »

Footnotes   [ + ]

© Copyright 2012-2018, McGinnis Lochridge LLP. All Rights Reserved. DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is for general information purposes only. This article should not be substituted for legal advice and should not be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or reading this article does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. You are encouraged to contact an attorney for legal advice concerning the information provided in this article.
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