|1:30 pm||Monday, October 9, 2017|
Sundance Oil and Gas, LLC, Plaintiff and Appellee
Hess Corporation, Defendant and Appellant
Barbara B. Corwin and Patricia B. Goldberg, Defendants
|Appeal from:||North Central Judicial District, Mountrail County, Judge Stacy Joan Louser, 31-2014-CV-00064|
|Nature of Action:||Oil, Gas and Minerals|
Appellant's Statement of the Issues:|
 Hess leased minerals from two mineral owners, recorded the leases, and began drilling. Over two years after Hess leased the minerals, Sundance filed an unlocatable mineral owner action, without notice to Hess, claiming the mineral owners' father could not be found. Sundance then obtained a competing lease from a court-appointed trustee. To obtain a superior lease, does the petitioner in an unlocatable owner action have to notify other lessees of the same minerals?
 The Hess leases were recorded in the tract index, and Sundance claimed it reviewed the title documents. Hess drilled three wells, and Sundance claimed it was also actively engaged in exploration and development of the same lands. The only evidence that Sundance paid value for its lease is a conclusory affidavit that an entity paid the lease bonus "on behalf of Sundance." Did the court err in concluding that Sundance-as a matter of law-was a good faith purchaser for value without notice of competing interests?
Appellee's Statement of the Issues:
1. Whether the district court correctly granted summary judgment concluding Sundance's claim has priority under the race-notice recording statute because the undisputed facts establish that Sundance recorded the first instrument in the chain of title, paid consideration, and took its lease without the requisite notice of Hess' competing claim.
a. Whether the district court correctly concluded that uncontested affidavit testimony by Sundance's president stating he had personal knowledge that Sundance paid a bonus for its lease accompanied by a copy of a check signed by Sundance's president showed Sundance paid consideration.
b. Whether the district court erred by failing to apply the version of the race-notice statute in effect when the Sundance lease was recorded, under which constructive notice was not relevant.
i. If constructive notice is relevant, whether the district court correctly concluded that Hess' out-of-chain-of-title recordings did not provide notice of Hess' claim.
ii. If constructive notice is relevant, whether the record evidence of Hess' drilling activity was insufficient to show constructive notice of Hess' claim to a fractional share of the mineral estate.
2. Whether this Court should refuse to consider Hess' constitutional challenge to the notice requirements of the unlocatable mineral interest owner trust statutes because Hess raises the argument for the first time on appeal and because Hess cannot collaterally attack the validity of the separate trust action in this quiet title proceeding.
a. If this Court considers the constitutional argument, whether constitutional due process required Sundance to provide actual notice of the unlocatable mineral interest owner trust action to every owner of a mineral, leasehold, or royalty interest under the same tracts as the fractional share of the mineral estate leased by Sundance.
Appellant Brief 1
Appellee Brief 1
Amicus Cur Brief 1
Reply Brief 1
Listen to recording of oral argument in MP3 format
Generated from Supreme Court Docket on 10/18/2017