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Pine Petroleum, Inc. v. Ekern

United States District Court, D. North Dakota, Northwestern Division

January 30, 2014

Pine Petroleum, Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
S. Jean Ekern and Clara Louise Rasmussen, Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

CHARLES S. MILLER, Jr., Magistrate Judge.

On September 12, 2012, plaintiff Pine Petroleum, Inc. ("Pine") moved for summary judgment. (Doc. No. 21). The court deferred ruling on the motion to allow defendants an opportunity to conduct discovery. Thereafter, on May 8, 2013, Pine renewed its motion. (Doc. No. 33). Following this motion, defendants moved to amend their answer and Pine supplemented its motion with additional affidavit information. On September 10, 2013, the court held a hearing on the pending motions, after which the court allowed time for supplemental filings by defendants because of new matters raised by Pine's supplemental affidavit. The court also granted defendants' motion to amend their pleadings.[1]

I. BACKGROUND

Unless otherwise indicated, the following facts have either been agreed to or are not subject to dispute:

A. Defendants' acquisition of their mineral interests and the "1972 Lease"

Defendants acquired their mineral interest by a mineral deed dated May 2, 1967, in which Edwin and Edith Sanders conveyed the minerals in the following lands to their three children - Roger Sanders, Jean Ekern and Clara Rasmussen:

Township 150 North, Range 101 West
Section 1: SW¼SE¼
Section 2: S½NE¼, SE¼
Section 3: Lots 1, 2, S½NE¼, SE¼, E½SW¼
Section 11: N½NE¼
Section 12: All, less that part of the SE¼SE¼ South of Railroad Tracks
Section 19: Lots 3, 4, E½SW¼
Township 151 North, Range 101 West
Section 34: S½SE¼
Township 150 North, Range 100 West
Section 6: Lots 4, 5, 6, 7, SE¼SW¼, SW¼SE¼, E½SE¼
Section 7: Lots 1, 2, 3, 4, E½W½, E½
Section 8: SW¼, S½SE¼
Section 9: W½SW¼

On July 12, 1972, Roger and his wife Betty leased the above mineral acreage to Rainbow Resources, Inc. The oil and gas lease (hereinafter the "1972 Lease") granted to Rainbow Resources was ratified by Jean Ekern and Clara Rasmussen on September 1, 1972. Important to this case is that the 1972 Lease was extended by production from one or more wells located on the leased tracts.

B. The "2010 Leases" at issue in this case

1. The March 9, 2010 lease

On March 9, 2010, defendants each executed separate oil and gas leases that leased to Pine's contractor, Black River Energy, LLC, ("Black River"), the following lands included in the 1972 Lease:

Township 150 North, Range 101 ...

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