The Texas Supreme Court closed another chapter in a decade-plus-long case when it refused to hear a last-ditch appeal in June, thereby confirming an eight-figure, multi-million dollar award to Charles G. Hooks and his family’s interests.
The case, Samson Exploration LLC v. Charles G. Hooks, III, et al., was groundbreaking for a number of reasons, according to McGinnis Lochridge’s Paul Simpson who represented the Hooks family’s interests since 2006, when they joined an even longer-running suit that was filed in 2004.
“One irony is that the defendant might have been able numerous times to settle for lesser amounts since we tried the case in 2008,” said Simpson, “but chose instead to fight, significantly increasing the post-judgment interest.” The case, as the Texas Supreme Court noted in 2015 on its first trip to the Texas high court, involved the statute of limitations and the effect of Samson’s filing false information in public records, including at the Texas Railroad Commission, the state’s oil and gas regulatory agency.
Simpson said the case is also worth noting because the Texas Supreme Court addressed several issues of importance in Texas oil and gas jurisprudence, such as contracts with alternative obligations, the effect of the statute of limitations on recurring obligations, and “most favored nations” agreements. The Court noted that, before the Hooks opinion, it had “not addressed the issue” of alternative obligations since 1849.
“These issues are important in commercial litigation, but have particular relevance for the oil and gas industry,” said Simpson. “Alternative obligations are increasingly used in Texas oil and gas leases, and recurring obligations and most favored nations clauses are commonplace. The Texas Supreme Court’s decision in Hooks will impact the Texas oil and gas industry for years to come.”