Lesley v. Veterans Land Board of Texas (Tex. 2011) (Opinion by Justice Hecht)
FULL TEXT OF OPINION [ coming soon ]
Opinions are available in pdf from the Court's website. Follow docket-number hotlink or click the case-style
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OPINION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS BELOW: Court of Appeals
Also see: Texas Causes of Action | 2011 Texas Supreme Court Opinions | 2011 Tex Sup Ct Per Curiams
Lesley v. Veterans Land Board of Texas,
No. 09-0306 (Tex. Aug. 26, 2011)(Opinion by Justice Hecht)(oil and gas law - restrictive covenant to prevent
drilling on land developed for residential use)
BETTY YVON LESLEY, ET AL. v. VETERANS LAND BOARD OF THE STATE OF TEXAS, ET AL.; from Erath County; 11th district (11-
07-00034-CV, 281 SW3d 602, 01-22-09)
The Court affirms in part and reverses in part the court of appeals' judgment and remands the case to the trial court.
Justice Hecht delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Justice Wainwright, Justice Medina, Justice Green,
Justice Johnson, Justice Willett, Justice Guzman, and Justice Lehrmann joined. [pdf]
(Chief Justice Jefferson not sitting)
The right to lease minerals — the executive right — is one “stick” in the bundle of five real
property rights that comprise a mineral estate. We held long ago that the executive owes the
owners of the mineral interest a duty of “utmost fair dealing”, but we have seldom had occasion to
elaborate. In this case, a land developer, who also owned part of the mineral estate and all of the
executive right, imposed restrictive covenants on a subdivision, limiting oil and gas development
in order to protect lot owners from intrusive exploratory, drilling, and production activities. The
non-participating mineral interest owners complain that the developer, as the executive, breached
its duty to them. The court of appeals held that the developer, never having undertaken to lease the
minerals, had not exercised the executive right and therefore owed no duty to the other mineral
interest owners. We disagree, and accordingly, reverse and remand the case to the trial court.
We recognize that Bluegreen as a land developer acquired the executive right for the specific
purpose of protecting the subdivision from intrusive and potentially disruptive activities related to
developing the minerals. But the common law provides appropriate protection to the surface owner
through the accommodation doctrine.
* * *
The judgment of the court of appeals is affirmed in part and reversed in part, and the case is
remanded to the trial court for further proceedings in accordance with our opinion.
Link to e-briefs: LESLEY v. VETERANS LAND BOARD OF THE STATE OF TEXAS (VLB) (amicus briefs)