Van Sickle v. Hallmark & Assoc., Inc.

20070154 Earl R. Van Sickle and
Harold R. Van Sickle, Plaintiffs and Appellants
v.
Hallmark & Associates, Inc.,
Frank Celeste, William R. Austin,
Phoenix Energy, Bobby Lankford and
Earskine Williams, collectively
known as "Interest Holders" NEWCO,
and their successors in interest,
Missouri Breaks, LLC, Defendants and Appellees

Appeal from: District Court, Northwest Judicial District, McKenzie County
Judge David W. Nelson
Nature of Action: Oil, Gas and Minerals
Counsel:
Appellant: Bosard, McCutcheon & Rau, Ltd.
Appellee: Vogel Law Firm
Appellant: Max D. Rosenberg
Term: 10/2007   Argument: 10/01/2007  10:45am
ND cite: 2008 ND 12
NW cite: 744 N.W.2d 532

Listen to recording of oral argument in MP3 format

Issues: Appellant's Statement of the Issues:
Did the trial court err in dismissing the action of Earl and Harold Van Sickle and denying them Partial Summary Judgment on the issue of liability for royalty payments due and when they
1)were not parties to the Bankruptcy Action,
2)were never on notice of the Bankruptcy Action,
3)had a recorded Royalty interest that was secured and not paid fully the royalties due them and
4)when the law authorizes the action of the Van Sickles, and no other Court exists to hear their claim.

Appellee's Statement of the Issues:
I. The District Court properly granted summary judgment on theVanSickles' claims for royalties owed on oil and gas produced by the Well after Missouri Breaks took over as operator of the Well in May 2005 in that the VanSickles failed to present any facts showing they had not been paid the royalties they were owed.
II. The District Court properly granted summary judgment on the VanSickles' claims for royalties owed on oil and gas produced by the Well prior to Missouri Breaks taking over as operator of the Well in May 2005 in that:
A. The VanSickles' claims against Missouri Breaks and the Interest Holders pursuant to the plan for reorganization confirmed in the Athens/Alpha bankruptcy case are barred as a consequence of the VanSickles' failure to assert those claims in the Athens/Alpha bankruptcy case.
B. The Interest Holders cannot be held liable for the outstanding debts of Athens/Alpha pursuant to the plan for reorganization confirmed in the Athens/Alpha bankruptcy case because they did not expressly assume those debts.
C. The Interest Holders cannot be held vicariously liable for unpaid royalties under North Dakota law in that it was undisputed that while Athens/Alpha served as operator of the Well, Athens/Alpha had exclusive control over all oil and gas produced by the Well, arranged for sale of the oil and gas, and had sole possession of all revenues resulting from sale of the oil and gas produced by the Well.
III. The District Court properly granted summary judgment on the VanSickles' claims for conversion and tortious interference with contractual relations.

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Docket entries:
106/04/2007 NOTICE OF APPEAL: 05/29/2007
206/04/2007 ANNOUNCED DISQUALIFICATION: Kapsner, Carol Ronning
306/26/2007 RECORD ON APPEAL (2 volumes)
406/29/2007 APPELLANT BRIEF
506/29/2007 APPELLANT APPENDIX
607/02/2007 DISK-ATB
707/06/2007 Corrected TOC & page 8 for the ATB
808/01/2007 APPELLEE BRIEF
908/02/2007 DISK of aeb
1008/20/2007 REPLY BRIEF
1108/21/2007 DISK - RYB
1209/20/2007 SITTING WITH THE COURT: Leclerc, Lawrence A.
1310/01/2007 APPEARANCES: Robert S. Rau; Jon R. Brakke
1410/01/2007 ARGUED: Rau; Brakke
1510/01/2007 ORAL ARGUMENT WEBCAST
1601/22/2008 DISPOSITION (AND REMANDED): AFFIRMED/PT, REVERSED/PT
1701/22/2008 UNANIMOUS OPINION: Crothers, Daniel John
1801/22/2008 It is ordered that no costs are taxed in this appeal.
1901/22/2008 Judgment e-mailed to Parties
2002/13/2008 MANDATE
2102/15/2008 RECEIPT SIGNED BY DISTRICT COURT CLERK'S OFFICE

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