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In re Lee M. Bass

113 S.W.3d 735 (Tex. 2003)

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In re Lee M. Bass

Supreme Court of Texas

113 S.W.3d 735 (Tex. 2003)

Facts

Lee Bass (defendant) owned the surface and mineral estate of a tract of land. When their sister sold the land to Bass, H.F. and Scott McGill (plaintiffs) retained a non-participating royalty interest in the land. Bass never sought to lease or develop the land. However, Bass did have a geological survey of seismic activity on the land conducted. The McGills brought suit for breach of the implied covenant to further develop the land and for breach of fiduciary duty. In order to prove their claim, the McGills sought access to Bass’s seismic data. The data would allow the McGills to show that development of the land would have been profitable. Bass argued that the seismic data were trade secrets, protected from disclosure. The trial court ruled in favor of the McGills and ordered Bass to produce the data. The court of appeals denied Bass’s request for mandamus relief. Bass filed for mandamus relief with the Supreme Court of Texas.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Schneider, J.)

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