Important Win for Landowner Rights

Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit issued an opinion in the appeal of Continental Resources, Inc. v. Rick and Rosella Fisher. In the opinion, the federal court affirmed the jury verdict awarding our clients damages for Continental’s use of their pore space and affirmed the lower court’s award for attorneys’ fees and costs.

The Eighth Circuit held that comparable oilfield transactions (pipeline easements, disposal agreements, surface pad agreements) are acceptable evidence of damages in Surface Damage Act proceedings in North Dakota, that landowners can testify to fair rentals for use of their pore space, that fee recovery in these cases can significantly exceed the value of the recovery, and that an operator’s use of the landowner’s pore space is per se a lost use of the landowner’s pore space.  

Our clients have been stalwart in their fight against these injustices since 2018, and the precedents set in this appeal will positively impact landowner rights in North Dakota for years to come.

Read the opinion:

Have an Immediate Need or Concern?

We excel at responding to the unexpected and have the experience necessary to ensure we are prepared when the unexpected occurs. Please contact us if you find yourself in need of astute attorneys with a passion for protecting land and its stewards.