Cook v. El Paso Natural Gas Co.
United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
560 F.2d 978 (1977)
Cook (plaintiff) owned an oil and gas lease on a tract of land. Cook assigned the lease to Phillips Petroleum Company (Phillips) (defendant), reserving a five percent overriding royalty. Phillips subsequently assigned the lease to El Paso Natural Gas Company (El Paso) (defendant). El Paso also owned a lease on an adjoining property. El Paso completed a well on its adjoining property. The U.S. Geological Survey found that drilling on the Cook property would unduly waste potash and therefore prohibited drilling on that property. Cook brought suit in the State District Court for New Mexico, Eddy County, seeking a compensatory royalty from the defendants based on their breach of the implied covenant to protect against drainage. The defendants removed the case to the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico. The district court found in favor of Cook. The defendants appealed, arguing that (1) the government’s prohibition on drilling on Cook’s property relieved the defendants of their duty under the implied covenant, and (2) a royalty interest owner does not have standing to enforce a lease, generally, and thus does not have standing to assert a claim based on the covenants implied in the lease.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Doyle, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 725,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 725,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 45,600 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.