United States District Court, D. North Dakota, Northwestern Division
ORDER GRANTING PLANTIFF'S MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER
DANIEL L. HOVLAND, District Judge.
Before the Court is the Plaintiff's "Motion for Temporary Restraining Order" filed on February 6, 2015. See Docket No. 3. The Plaintiff, Global Geophysical Services, Inc., seeks a temporary restraining order pursuant to Rule 65(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Specifically, the Plaintiff requests an order prohibiting the Defendants from interfering with the Plaintiff's geophysical exploration activities on certain real property the Defendants own in Mountrail County, North Dakota. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants the Plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order.
The Plaintiff, Global Geophysical Services, Inc. ("Global"), is a Delaware corporation organized under the laws of the State of Delaware with its principal place of business located in Missouri City, Texas. Global is engaged in the business of conducting geophysical exploration operations throughout North Dakota and elsewhere. Global is authorized to do business as a foreign corporation in the State of North Dakota.
The Defendants, Merrill J. Kuster and Lois M. Kuster, Trustees of the Merrill J. and Lois M. Kuster Trust ("Kusters"), are the surface estate owners of certain real property ("Subject Property"). in Mountrail County, North Dakota, described as follows:
Township 157 North, Range 91 West
Section 13: S1/2SW1/4
Section 24: NW1/4NW1/4, El/2NW1/4
Section 25: NEl/4, El/2NW1/4, Nl/2SE1/4
The Kusters do not own any mineral rights in the Subject Property.
Global alleges it was retained by EOG Resources, Inc. ("EOG") to conduct geophysical operations on an area approximately 174 square miles in size located in Burke and Mountrail Counties, North Dakota, referred to as the "Sidonia 3D Project." The Subject Property is located within the Sidonia 3D Project. EOG, along with other individuals, hold an interest in the oil and gas leasehold estate granting them the right to conduct geophysical exploration operations on the Subject Property. EOG and others holding interests in and to the oil and gas leasehold estates have entered into an agreement with Global for geophysical operations to be conducted on the Subject Property. Global commenced geophysical operations on the Sidonia 3D Project on December 8, 2014. Global has already conducted geophysical operations on approximately 83, 200 acres, or 130 square miles, of the Sidonia 3D Project. The purpose of geophysical exploration is to gather data from below the surface of the earth so the same can be processed and analyzed for use in oil and gas exploration activities. Global has obtained a "geophysical exploration permit" from the North Dakota Industrial Commission to conduct geophysical exploration on the Subject Property. See Docket No. 8-1.
By letter dated December 17, 2014, Global gave notice to the Kusters that it would be commencing geophysical exploration activities on the Subject Property. See Docket No. 8-2. The notice contained an offer of $4, 955.70 as compensation to the Kusters for the use of the Subject Property. The Kusters did not respond to the notice.
On or about January 7, 2015, the Subject Property was surveyed, flagged, and receivers put in place for geophysical exploration. Global contends that on February 4, 2015, a Global crew attempting to enter the Subject Property encountered an individual who identified himself as the landowner and instructed the Global crew to vacate the property. See Docket No. 8. Global further contends that between February 5, 2015 and February 9, 2015, the Kusters physically removed receivers from the Subject Property necessary for the geophysical operations to occur. See Docket No. 9.
Global filed a complaint in this Court on February 6, 2015. See Docket No. 1. The complaint makes claims for declaratory and injunctive relief. Global filed a motion for a temporary restraining order along with its complaint. See Docket No. 3. Global seeks to restrain and enjoin the Kusters from interfering with Global's geophysical exploration activities on the Subject Property until further order of the Court. Despite difficulties in serving the Kusters with the original Notice of Geophysical Operations, Global is attempting to give notice to the Kusters of its intention to seek a temporary restraining order. See Docket No. 6.
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
Global seeks a temporary restraining order pursuant to Rule 65(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which ...