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Northern Oil & Gas, Inc. v. Eog Resources, Inc.

United States District Court, D. North Dakota

April 17, 2018

Northern Oil & Gas, Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
EOG Resources, Inc., Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO DEFER RULING ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Daniel L. Hovland, United States District Court Chief Judge

         Before the Court is a “Motion for Summary Judgment Dismissing Northern's Claims Because the Limitation Period Expired” filed by EOG Resources, Inc. (“EOG”) on July 20, 2017. See Docket No. 22. Northern Oil & Gas, Inc. (“Northern Oil”) filed a response on August 24, 2017. See Docket No. 35. EOG filed a reply to Northern Oil's response on September 7, 2017. See Docket No. 40. Northern Oil also filed a motion to defer ruling on EOG's summary judgment motion on August 24, 2017. See Docket No. 36. EOG filed a response to Northern Oil's motion for deferral on September 7, 2017. See Docket No. 39. Northern Oil filed a reply to EOG's response on September 14, 2017. See Docket No. 47. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants Northern Oil's motion for deferral and therefore denies EOG's motion for summary judgment without prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Northern Oil is a Minnesota Corporation with its principal office in Minnesota. EOG is a Delaware corporation with its principal office in Texas. See Docket No. 1, p. 1. Northern Oil brought this diversity action against EOG in an attempt to quiet title to a mineral leasehold interest. See Docket No. 1, p. 19. Northern Oil also requests the Court declare EOG acted wrongfully when it made certain deductions from revenue payments it owed Northern Oil, and Northern Oil asks the Court to bar EOG from engaging in such conduct in the future. See Docket No. 1, p. 22.

         A. THE CONVEYANCES

         The conveyances at issue have been the subject of litigation before North Dakota state courts. See Johnson v. Finkle, 837 N.W.2d 123 (N.D. 2013). The deed at the center of the controversy presents a classic Duhig[1] scenario-a grant and a reservation, both of which cannot be satisfied because the grantor does not own enough minerals. Axel Anderson owned the surface and minerals in the following property located in Mountrail County, North Dakota:

Township 157 North, Range 91 West of the 5th Principal Meridian
Section 7: E1/2SE1/4
Section 8: NW1/4
Township 158 North, Range 91 West of the 5th Principal Meridian
Section 23: All
Section 24: All
Section 25: W1/2, NE1/4, ...

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