XTO Supreme Court Decision

Locke Lord Austin Partner Skip Watson won a Supreme Court of Texas decision for client XTO Energy clarifying the landowner's burden of proof under the accommodation doctrine. The Supreme Court held that before a landowner can require an oil and gas producer to adopt a less interfering means of production, the landowner must first prove that the producer's chosen means of production destroys or substantially impairs the existing use of the land and that the existing land use cannot be reasonably adapted to accommodate the producer's chosen means of production. The 9-0 decision in Merriman v. XTO, announced June 21, is considered a landmark case in defining the competing interests of Texas landowners and oil and gas leaseholders.

Posted June 28, 2013