Gill v. Gipson
Mississippi Court of Appeals
982 So. 2d 415, 169 O. & G.R. 127 (2007)
In June 1970, Wessie Mae Lowe leased land to D. L. Royals under an oil-and-gas lease. The lease provided for automatic termination if oil-and-gas production ceased for 60 consecutive days. Royals operated the well on the land until his death in 1989, when his daughter, Brenda Gipson (plaintiff), began operating the well. Royals’s interest in the lease passed to his heirs (collectively, the Royals) (plaintiffs). In July 1991, landman Preston O. Gill (defendant) presented the Royals with an offer from PRP, Inc. to purchase the lease. The Royals assigned their interest in the lease to PRP. The lease assignment reserved for the Royals an overriding royalty in oil, gas, and other minerals produced, marketed, or used from the land. The reservation-of-overriding-royalty clause also provided that if the lease expired and the assignee or any of the assignee’s agents or employees secured a future lease of the land, the Royals’ overriding royalty interest would continue. PRP subsequently assigned its interest in the lease to Trinity Oil & Gas Development (Trinity), which later assigned the lease to Gill. Gill continued production from the well and paid royalties to the Royals until October 1998, when Gill ceased production due to alleged cost overruns. The lease automatically terminated 60 days later. Gill then contacted Donald Lowe, the land’s owner at that point, and discussed entering a new lease. In March 1999, Lowe leased the land to Preston O. Gill Operating Company. Gill then put the well back into production but paid the Royals no further royalties, asserting that the Royals’ overriding royalty interest had terminated when the lease automatically terminated. The Royals sued Gill to confirm their right to the overriding royalty interest. The chancellor found that the reservation-of-overriding-royalty clause in the lease bound Gill both because Gill was PRP’s agent and because Gill had accepted assignment of the lease. The chancellor found that by ceasing production from the well, Gill had breached a duty to the Royals. The chancellor awarded the Royals damages including royalties, punitive damages, and attorney fees. Gill appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Griffis, 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 710,000 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 710,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 44,600 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.