from the District Court of Mountrail County, North Central
Judicial District, the Honorable Stacy Joan Louser, Judge.
Kirsten Tuntland (argued), Zachary E. Pelham (appeared), and
Benjamin W. Keup (on brief), Bismarck, ND, for plaintiff and
Michael J. Mazzone (argued), Houston, TX, and Dante E.
Tomassoni (appeared), Duluth, MN, for defendant and appellant
Hess Corporation. David P. Garner, Assistant Attorney
General, Office of the Attorney General, Bismarck, ND, for
amicus curiae State of North Dakota.
1] Hess Corporation ("Hess") appeals from a summary
judgment determining Sundance Oil and Gas, LLC
("Sundance") holds the superior leasehold mineral
interest in a property located in Mountrail County. We
reverse the district court's judgment and remand for
2] In May 2014, Sundance sued Hess and the owners of the
disputed mineral rights, Barbara B. Corwin and Patricia B.
Goldberg, seeking to quiet title to leasehold mineral
interests. In 1952, Edward J. Brown acquired a 50/2000ths
interest in the mineral rights on the disputed property
Township 154 North, Range 94 West of the 5th P.M.
Section 23: S1/2NW1/4, W1/2E1/2, N1/2SW1/4, SE1/4SE1/4,
Section 25: E1/2W1/2, SW1/4NW1/4, SW1/4SW1/4, West 20 acres
of the SW1/4SE1/4
Section 26: NE1/4, E1/2NW1/4, N1/2SW1/4
Section 35: Lot 1 (39.10), NW1/4NW1/4, SE1/4NW1/4, S1/2NE1/4,
NE1/4SW1/4, SE1/4, 20 acres located in the SW1/4SW1/4,
Brown died on July 29, 1977 in Broward County, Florida.
Edward Brown was survived by his wife, Janet G. Brown, and
two daughters, Barbara Corwin and Patricia Goldberg. Edward
Brown's wife, Janet Brown, died on January 28, 2000. Both
Edward and Janet Brown died intestate and no probate
proceedings occurred in North Dakota until October 2013. Hess
obtained a leasehold interest in 2011 from Corwin and
Goldberg, as the heirs to Edward and Janet Brown's
estates. Hess recorded its leases on May 27, 2011. After Hess
recorded its leases from Corwin and Goldberg, it obtained
permits and began drilling three wells on the property.
3] In April 2013, Sundance petitioned the district court to
create a trust for Edward Brown's mineral interests
because he was an unlocatable mineral owner. After Sundance
was unable to locate Edward Brown or his successors, it
served him by publication. In the trust action, the district
court entered a default judgment and created a trust for
Edward Brown's mineral interest after finding Sundance
conducted a diligent but unsuccessful effort to locate Edward
Brown and his ...