QUESTAR EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION COMPANY, now known as QEP ENERGY COMPANY, a Texas corporation; WEXPRO COMPANY, a Utah corporation; Appellants (Defendants),
ROCKY MOUNTAIN RESOURCES, LLC, Appellee (Plaintiff).
from the District Court of Sublette County The Honorable
Marvin L. Tyler, Judge
Representing Appellants: Shawn T. Welch, Holland & Hart,
LLP, Salt Lake City, Utah; Jere C. (Trey) Overdyke, III, and
Susan L. Combs, Holland & Hart, LLP, Jackson, Wyoming.
Argument by Mr. Welch.
Representing Appellee: Steven F. Freudenthal, Freudenthal
& Bonds, PC, Cheyenne, Wyoming; Greg Weisz, Pence and
MacMillan, LLC, Laramie, Wyoming; Paul F. Simpson, McGinnis,
Lochridge & Kilgore, LLP, Houston, Texas; Patton G.
Lochridge and J. Derrick Price, McGinnis, Lochridge &
Kilgore, LLP, Austin, Texas. Argument by Mr. Simpson.
Representing Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments,
Amicus Curiae in Support of QEP Energy Company: Peter K.
Michael, Attorney General; Ryan T. Schelhaas, Deputy Attorney
General; Mackenzie Williams, Senior Assistant Attorney
General; Megan L. Nicholas, Senior Assistant Attorney
BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, and KAUTZ, JJ., and FENN, D.J.
Appellants, QEP Energy Company ("QEP") and Wexpro
Company ("Wexpro") appeal the district court's
decision on cross summary judgment motions, the verdict and
final judgment that found them liable for more than thirty
million dollars in unpaid royalties, and the district
court's denial of their motion for a new trial. We
reverse and remand.
Appellants phrase the issues as follows:
1. Whether the district court erred in concluding as a matter
of law that the State of Wyoming's oil and gas lease
assignment form contains an anti-washout clause that vested a
past state lessee with title to an overriding royalty in a
future state lease sold by public auction.
2. Whether the district court erred in concluding as a matter
of law that the State of Wyoming did not have to approve an
overriding royalty to be valid in a state oil and gas lease
even though state approval is required under law.
3. Whether the district court erred in concluding as a matter
of law that Wyoming's rule against perpetuities did not
bar plaintiff's claim to an overriding royalty interest
in a future state oil and gas lease.
4. Whether the district court's Jury Instruction No. 8
improperly instructed the jury without legal or evidentiary
support and prejudiced the defense at trial.
5. Whether the district court abused its discretion in
denying a motion for a new trial including where the jury
verdict determined the causes of action accrued on the date
the complaint was filed.
phrases the issues as follows:
1. Did a 4% overriding royalty interest reserved in
assignments of oil and gas leases that extended it to
"any renewal lease, substitute lease, or new lease
issued in lieu thereof, " extend as a matter of law to a
subsequent lease covering the same land, issued within weeks
after the original leases were surrendered, and promptly
acquired by the same working interest owner that surrendered
the prior leases?
2. Did the State Land Board have to approve that 4%
overriding royalty a second time for it to apply to a
subsequent lease under the extension clause in the initial
assignment that the Board had already approved?
3. Does a 4% overriding royalty that extends to a future
lease under an anti-washout clause violate the Rule against
Perpetuities, as a matter of law?
4. Did Jury Instruction No. 8 improperly instruct the jury?
a. If so, was it an abuse of discretion that prejudiced
QEP/Wexpro's statute of frauds defense?
b. If so, was it an abuse of discretion that prejudiced
QEP/Wexpro's bona fide purchaser defense?
c. If so, was it an abuse of discretion that prejudiced
QEP/Wexpro's limitations defense?
5. Were the jury's findings as to when Rocky Mountain
Resources and Robert Floyd knew or reasonably should have
known that they had a right to sue to enforce the rights to
the 4% overriding royalty unsupported by the evidence or
contrary to law?
resolution of this case makes it unnecessary for us to
consider all of the issues presented. We rephrase the issues