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Trans Energy, Inc. v EQT Production Company

Case No. 12-2553 (C.A. 4, Feb. 25, 2014)

This appeal arises from an action to quiet title. The parties make competing claims of ownership to the gas rights underlying a 3,800 acre plot of land located in northern West Virginia known as Blackshere. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment, and the district court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. The defendant, EQT Production Company (“EPC”), appealed the district court’s decision on the merits, as well as several of its procedural rulings. EPC also makes a new argument on appeal, challenging whether subject matter jurisdiction existed in the district court.

Finding no error in any of the district court’s decisions, we affirm the judgment as to three of the four plaintiffs. However, in order to retain jurisdiction, we exercise our authority to dismiss plaintiff Republic Energy Ventures, LLC (“REV”) from the case, and we vacate the judgment with respect to that party.

I.



In 1892, John Blackshere and South Penn Oil Company (“South Penn”), which would later become Pennzoil Products Company (“Pennzoil”), entered into an oil and gas lease covering the Blackshere property (the “Blackshere Lease” or “Lease”). The transfer was recorded with the Wetzel County Clerk. In 1901 and 1902, South Penn entered into two indenture agreements with Carnegie Natural Gas Company and Hope Natural Gas Company (“Hope”). The indentures purported to sever South Penn’s gas rights from its oil rights and allocate the gas rights to Carnegie and Hope. It is undisputed that these indentures were never recorded.
 

 

Judge(s): Roger Gregory
Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
Related Categories: Contracts , Property
 
Circuit Court Judge(s)
John Gibney, Jr.
Roger Gregory
Harvie Wilkinson

 
Trial Court Judge(s)
Frederick Stamp, Jr.

 
Appellant Lawyer(s) Appellant Law Firm(s)
Henry Lawrence, IV Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
John Meadows Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
Amy Smith Steptoe & Johnson PLLC

 
Appellee Lawyer(s) Appellee Law Firm(s)
Stuart McMillan Bowles Rice LLP
James Scott Bowles Rice LLP
James Ho Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Ashley Johnson Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP

 

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10 this appeal arises from an action to quiet title. the lastly, epc argues that prima purchased its interest at insufficient to cause a reasonable buyer to conduct a further vi, lp, a texas limited partnership; republic energy blackshere to south penn in 1892. nothing in the granting surrounding region. according to the plaintiffs, a recent virginia; ashley e. johnson, gibson, dunn & crutcher llp, eqt production company, a pennsylvania corporation, attaching the wrong document to their motion. considering the judgment; (3) deny the defendant’s motion for an extension of we affirm the judgment as to three of the four plaintiffs. 3. in 1892, john blackshere and south penn oil company (“south contained in the letter. by those wells. first, the granting language of the memorandum q. and what was your understanding after the cobham? admitted having knowledge of these rumors, he testified that in ought to have put prima on notice of a potential competing procedure 21. see newman-green, inc. v. alfonzo-larrain, 490 rice llp, charleston, west virginia, for appellees. on brief: under the agreements, hope received the rights to the vast wells. this is unsurprising given the nature of the property, assignment was recorded through a memorandum of assignment (the the authority to dismiss a dispensable nondiverse party by of relief, or other measures, the prejudice can be that mr. starkey was aware of the “legend and lore” among mining the plaintiffs then filed an amended complaint raising the affidavit attesting to the texas citizenship of each member of eqt corporation is not to be confused with eqt production, instead merely relies on a clerical error of the plaintiffs in prima. blackshere might have been subject to such obligations. we deem expresses the intent of the parties in plain and unambiguous jr., senior district judge. (1:11-cv-00075-fps-jes) although the memorandum mentioned the assignment, unlike in in l.l.c., no. 1:06cv53, 2007 wl 951849, at *4 (n.d. w. va. mar. 13 have rev dismissed as a party under federal rule of civil 6 purchaser for value (“bfp”) with no actual or constructive republic partners. at oral argument, epc conceded the accuracy partners); gen. tech. applications, inc. v. exro ltda, 388 f.3d organized and do business. see carden v. arkoma assocs., 494 state which of the many leases and wells conveyed along with plainly states that the leases being transferred were “oil and a. yes. “[d]ismissal of a case is a drastic remedy, . . . which should a. yes. fourth, whether the plaintiff will have an adequate rulings. in a thorough, well-reasoned opinion, the court on november 5, 2004, cobham conveyed its interest in the associated with the conveyance, including the blackshere lease. purchaser on notice of epc’s competing claim. as listed in exhibit a – including the unsevered 1892 blackshere the original lessor to prima oil? diversity. however, the plaintiffs now acknowledge that they furthermore, even assuming that the language of the allegations of jurisdiction may be amended, upon terms, in the gas is a predecessor in title to epc.2 beyond the record. this is a reference to a form of corporation (“consolidated gas”). the transfer, which was stating that prima held record title to the blackshere lease. obtains from the lease. rev is seeking to be dismissed from the title it would have discovered the 1965 conveyance between hope indispensable.” yashenko v. harrah’s nc casino co., llc, 446 described on exhibit ‘a’ and exhibit ‘b’, attached [t]hereto and united states court of appeals in in re restaurant, the recording memorandum noted that 8 record title to the gas rights, epc might nevertheless have a parties”) (emphasis added). in its answer to the complaint, epc granted the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, denied the 12 cng transmission corporation is a predecessor-in-interest judge gregory wrote the opinion, in which judge wilkinson and on october 15, 1996, pennzoil assigned its rights in the never recorded. bargained for in good faith in the absence of fraud will be interest in the lease to prima. in the proceedings below, the to that party. that is exactly the situation here, and, reasonable explanation for any increased value of the lease issues. first, it argues that the 1996 transfer from pennzoil jurisdiction existed in the district court. wells being transferred but also the ownership rights of each rights underlying the property, and that prima was a bona fide alleging notice to a purchaser must show that the purchaser was same tort claims and seeking compensatory damages but later republic partners obtains from the lease. gibney, jr., united states district judge for the eastern motion for summary judgment de novo, applying the same legal 4 (w. va. 1985) (“[a] valuable consideration, however small, if keep diversity of citizenship intact, the plaintiffs propose to reason to believe that any party will be harmed by rev’s motion in limine to exclude evidence of punitive damages. epc contends that because language within the memorandum transfers also provides that such transfers are invalid as language of the memorandum or the list of leases in exhibit a 2004 assignment. the defendant has not directly challenged the only right associated with the blackshere lease wells, the 265 (w. va. 1976). as a result, even if prima can demonstrate appellant. james e. scott, bowles rice llp, charleston, west gas well on the property. prior to drilling the new well, prima virtue of rule 21). epc argues, however, that rev is an and not the gas rights. second, epc contends that the district grant of summary judgment in favor of trans energy, republic citizenship of their members). lease and we were dealing with –- i think we got up 6 interests in northern west virginia that gas rights to large 15 before wilkinson and gregory, circuit judges, and john a. require a purchaser to inquire further about the nature of these to direct the attention of a purchaser to prior rights and less than clean title to the entire estate. prima paid $250,000 within the chain of title referenced unrecorded covenants. id. judgment motions, and granted the plaintiffs’ motion to exclude gullett v. burton, 345 s.e.2d 323, 327 (w. va. 1986). a party claim and give it cause to consult beyond the record. action, seeking to quiet title to the blackshere lease and id. “[t]he burden of proving notice to a purchaser for value is oil company, inc., a delaware corporation, argued: w. henry lawrence, iv, steptoe & johnson, pllc, q. and we were talking about what the record chain of regardless of whether rev’s interests are protected, rule 19(b) for the foregoing reasons, we affirm the district court’s a, which does not include reference to any wells, is clearly a ascertaining their nature, will operate as notice.”). several of its procedural rulings. epc also makes a new in 1965, hope conveyed all of its interests and rights to supplemental memorandum in support of its summary judgment as a result, the parties the supreme court has stated that, “[o]nce a diversity case has a. we have an assignment from cobham gas industries, contends that language in the memorandum and the assignment of epc. plaintiffs filed a motion to supplement the record with an upon him who alleges it.” alexander v. andrews, 64 s.e.2d 487, transfer of real property and not the actual assignment itself. epc answered and filed several counterclaims seeking a competing claim at the time of the 2004 assignment and was in themselves” to create constructive notice). while starkey investigation outside the record.6 memorandum did not convey the gas rights to the blackshere bridgeport, west virginia, for appellant. james c. ho, gibson, by the remaining plaintiffs, all of whom are related entities defendant - appellant. authority[.]”). blackshere’s gas rights. under west virginia law, unrecorded lease, which epc compares with the $6,000,000 prima later spent gas leases.” (emphasis added). there is no indication that any rendered in the person’s absence will be adequate; efficiency, and economy become overwhelming.” caterpillar, inc. its motion for an extension of time to complete discovery and premises would have yielded information of a competing claim. district court, as explained in its two opinions on the matters. extensiveness of mr. starkey’s review, however, no amount of district of virginia, sitting by designation. 25 of epc’s competing claim and is not a bfp. first, epc asserts 5 gregory, circuit judge: “as effective as a recorded deed” against purchasers with notice well. the fact that some wells produced only oil in no way to purchasing its interest in the property from cobham in 2004, abuse of discretion or the real possibility that a party was trans energy, inc., a nevada corporation; republic partners ventures, llc, a delaware limited liability company; prima time to complete discovery and to defer consideration of the see bailey v. banther, 314 s.e.2d 176, 181 (w. va. 1983). year and a half. re restaurant it did not reference other documents containing finding no error in any of the district court’s decisions, 16 plaintiffs’ summary judgment motion.10 defendant’s motion for summary judgment, and denied the memorandum created a duty to consult the actual assignment, the relevant county records to ensure that cobham had obtained nothing to raise prima’s suspicions about a possible competing mentions the assignment in passing, noting that the assignment cng transmission corporation or cng producing company.”5 carnegie natural gas company and hope natural gas company district of west virginia, at clarksburg. frederick p. stamp, group ltd. p’ship, 70 f.3d 1262 (4th cir. 1995) (unpublished case. whether subject matter jurisdiction exists is a question chain of title.” 2007 wl 951849, at *4. one of the prior deeds and find that we are in agreement with the decisions of the morgan-gardner elec. co. v. beelick knob coal co., 112 s.e. 587, epc’s third and final argument is that prima was not a bfp distinct types of pennzoil property: leases and wells. exhibit vacated in part motion and against the plaintiffs’ summary judgment motion. interpretation but will be applied and enforced according to defendant’s motion for leave to supplement the record. the purported to sever the gas rights underlying the property, are with this background in mind, we hold that the purchase which to exercise our power under rule 21 to dismiss rev from list of the leases being transferred. exhibit b, on the other q. based on the record? its interest in and to “certain oil and gas leases and 88 wells of law that we review de novo. in re kirkland, 600 f.3d 310, stated its intention to (1) grant the plaintiffs’ motion for wells are subject to certain contractual obligations with either (“republic partners”). rev’s interest in the matter derives whole, taking and considering all the parts together,” syl. pt. district court lacked a factual basis on which to find that contrary to epc’s assertions, this notation is insufficient to while acting as such agent and within the scope of his inc. (“prima”) by way of a recorded transfer (the “2004 2 amy marie smith, bridgeport, west virginia, john joseph meadows, title shows regarding ownership of the blackshere estimated abundance of natural gas in the region offer a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, and this appeal followed. pennsylvania company. it is undisputed that trans energy is a for all these reasons, we affirm the district court’s reasonable inquiries would nevertheless have failed to uncover a the transfer was “subject to any and all exceptions, gas.” the rights columns for all the blackshere lease wells limits the rights included in the leases. moreover, the overall merits determination of the district court. given our further motions or pleadings with respect to the rulings 387 s.e.2d 99, 102 (w. va. 1989). in such cases, purchasers the same reasons explained above, epc’s argument on this point 26 a. yes. there’s a chain. indispensable party under rule 19 and cannot be dismissed. or defect in title. fanti v. welsh, 161 s.e.2d 501, 505 (w. va. inquiry.” stickley v. thorn, 106 s.e. 240, 242 (w. va. 1921). underlying a 3,800 acre plot of land located in northern west accordingly, knowledge of epc’s claim cannot be imputed to 24 this argument is easily rejected. epc’s own expert 5 blackshere lease. defer consideration of the plaintiffs’ summary judgment motion, lease. the witness, arnold schulberg, testified: procedural rulings. specifically, epc contests the denial of to anyone’s interest will occur if the case proceeds absent c. 17 withdrew these claims. the unrecorded hope indenture. the plaintiffs then filed this 7 2004 assignment, trans energy assigned half of its portion of appeal from the united states district court for the northern 7 dallas, texas, for appellees. affirmed in part and vacated in part by published opinion. decision, explained below, to affirm the district court’s ruling transferred and the type of production associated with each 19 conducted due diligence in its inspection of the site and that the next day, epc filed a motion for leave to file a this case is readily distinguishable from in re restaurant. as mentioned, rev’s stake in the matter results from its estimate is 141 trillion cubic feet. standards as the district court.”). factors under rule 19(b) are concerned with whether actual harm by referring only to the states in which those entities are undisputed that the 1901 and 1902 indentures were never trading co. ltd., 570 f.3d 219, 232 (5th cir. 2009) (“the plaintiffs’ motion in limine to exclude evidence of punitive exhibit b lists both the leases and wells being transferred as pleading defects on appeal. see 28 u.s.c. § 1653 (“defective provided an adequate basis for the district court’s conclusion tracts of property had been severed in the early 20th century caution against dismissing the case, which involved extensive may be established when a reasonable physical inspection of the by mutual agreement of the parties, eqt 3 thirty years of working in the oil and gas industry in the area authority to dismiss plaintiff republic energy ventures, llc discovered epc’s alleged interest in the lease resulting from table decision). additionally, to the extent epc is concerned prospective purchasers need review in order to satisfy due notice of its competing claim. land. as such, we agree with the district court that prima the memorandum states that pennzoil, through the epc’s operation of the two wells did not amount to constructive punitive damages evidence. the court then entered final requesting declarations that they have rightful title to the gas plaintiffs purported to attach this document to their motion for nevada corporation and prima is a delaware corporation. the of this information. accordingly, we grant the plaintiffs’ 5906649 (n.d. w. va. nov. 26, 2012); trans energy, inc. v. eqt turning to the merits of the case, epc raises three main agree that epc’s alleged interest in blackshere’s gas rights a. it’s, apparently, november 5th, 2004. no. 12-2553 (“rev”) from the case, and we vacate the judgment with respect diligence. however, several west virginia cases have held that eastern states eventually became epc. court lacked a factual basis on which to find that prima recorded, did not reference the blackshere lease. consolidated epc has also challenged a number of the district court’s of the unrecorded transfer. farrar v. young, 230 s.e.2d 261, to build a new well on the property. to the extent that is not compelling. part of the sale. exhibit b includes a “rights” column for each that prima held an unbroken, recorded chain of title to the parties make competing claims of ownership to the gas rights plaintiffs’ motion in limine to exclude any evidence or argument analysis on this issue. “a valid written instrument which claim, thereby triggering a duty to conduct a title search confirmatory assignment”). prima is a wholly-owned subsidiary inc., to prima oil company, inc. was on notice of at least the possibility of a competing claim for summary judgment, and the district court ruled in favor of therefore not a bfp. we address each issue in turn, utilizing a . . . [cobham], all right, title and interest it may have in and to placed on actual or constructive notice of the competing claim judge gibney joined. first, to what extent a judgment rendered in the damages. the court also advised the parties not to file any he had never seen the alleged severance applied. such non- whole, taking and considering all the parts together, and giving dunn & crutcher, llp, dallas, texas; stuart a. mcmillan, bowles property constituted constructive notice of its claim. notice (asking “to what extent a judgment rendered in the person’s majority of the property, some 3,550 acres. person’s absence might be prejudicial to the person or a. consolidated gas by way of this 1965 conveyance. held an unbroken chain of title going back to the original 1892 8 partners, and prima, but vacate the judgment with respect to made a part [t]hereof.” exhibit a is a list of leases “memorandum”) filed with the wetzel county clerk. for the fourth circuit not of record” the purchaser “may be charged with searches iii. referenced the assignment itself, prima was charged with rights to cobham. see also syl. pt. 1, pocahontas tanning co. v. st. lawrence boom written contracts, such as the 1901 and 1902 indentures that 22 4 (“hope”). the indentures purported to sever south penn’s gas transfer was recorded with the wetzel county clerk. in 1901 and 4 decision that prima was a bfp in 2004 and therefore holds decision that the memorandum unambiguously conveyed to cobham offer the 2004 confirmatory assignment into the record the specifically mentioned their existence. id. at *5. these non-specific references to contractual obligations listed in exhibit b. we therefore affirm the district court’s 18 instrument, it is the duty of the court to construe it as a 1 & mfg. co., 60 s.e. 890 (w. va. 1908) (“whatever is sufficient see trans energy, inc. v. eqt prod. co., no. 1:11cv75, 2012 wl absence, or that the plaintiffs received an improper “tactical 2. trial or appellate courts.”). in accordance with this, the summary judgment; however, it is now apparent that they 2012). accordingly, we affirm the denial of the defendant’s about not being sued in a separate state action filed by rev, citizenship in filing the case in federal court. see 28 u.s.c. believe that property may have been conveyed in an instrument prima retained attorney richard starkey to investigate reservations, restrictions, easements, rights-of-way and the plaintiffs. the defendant, eqt production company (“epc”), good title from pennzoil in 1996. regardless of the assignment, “did bargain, sell, transfer, assign and convey unto u.s. 185, 195 (1990) (partnerships have citizenship of their competing claim.7 the 2004 confirmatory assignment recorded the sale of cobham’s asserted several counterclaims that included rev as a defendant. exhibit a lists the entire blackshere lease, as conveyed by john we disagree with this reading, and instead adopt the after significant discovery was undertaken by both sides, keal driveaway co., 173 f.3d 915, 918 (4th cir. 1999). further, published property (the “2004 assignment”) to plaintiff prima oil company, those already parties; second, the extent to which, by west virginia law, see wetzel v. watson, 328 s.e.2d 526, 530 n. validity of the evidence regarding the 2004 assignment, and epc next contends that because the plaintiffs failed to indicate “oil.” epc contends that exhibit b lists not only the u.s. 826, 836 (1989) (holding that the courts of appeals have against bfps. see w. va. code § 40-1-9. a bfp is “one who favor of the plaintiffs, we need not consider this issue. 1. language is not subject to judicial construction or certain oil and gas leases and 88 wells more particularly for abuse of discretion, reversing only if there is a clear district court’s challenged procedural rulings. ii. that 1.9 trillion cubic feet of gas existed in blackshere’s assignment, spending several days visiting cobham well sites and hand, offers particularized descriptions of each of the wells mr. starkey’s knowledge may be imputed to prima. see advantage” by including rev as a party. see parker v. centre rights for blackshere’s wells, indicated that the transfer did defendant’s position requires reading exhibit b in isolation and second, the memorandum states that pennzoil conveyed all of i. however, in order to retain jurisdiction, we exercise our on november 26, 2012, the district court entered two cross-motions for summary judgment. the plaintiffs also filed a nothing within the assignment indicated the existence of a 2 argued: december 12, 2013 decided: february 25, 2014 see w. va. code § 40-1-8. as such, a memorandum normally we review both rulings arguments and the record, we are satisfied that there is no lease. basic principles of west virginia property law guide our waste.3 significance. see pocahontas tanning, inc., 60 s.e. at 893 review outside the record. see in re restaurant assocs., was unreasonably cursory and fell short of due diligence. prior case, assured that its interests will be adequately represented 1968). such knowledge is imputed to the purchaser if it could any property in wetzel county to consolidated gas supply this rule protects good faith purchasers who conduct due rev as a citizen of delaware, thereby establishing complete constructive notice of a competing interest. complete discovery and to defer consideration of the summary brief in support of its summary judgment motion and against the 591 (w. va. 1922) (“the law imputes to the principal, and simply lists the wells being transferred and the rights utilized purchase price may be considered in determining bfp status under q. okay. is it fair to say that based just on the next, epc argues that its operation of two gas wells on the complaint identified republic partners as a citizen of texas and establishes that pennzoil transferred both oil and gas rights to such a discount that it must have known it was getting something interests in the gas rights to blackshere, nor does the language parties by letter of its tentative rulings. the district court in the memorandum would not have placed a reasonably prudent declaration that it held superior title to blackshere’s gas second opinion denied epc’s motion for an extension of time to the suit and preserve diversity among the remaining parties. and the denial of its motion for leave to file a supplemental avers that, without the 2004 confirmatory assignment, the consolidated gas, after a series of name changes, conveyed 28, 2007) (holding that if there exist “reasonable grounds to defect with respect to republic partners. not include the gas rights. from this, epc contends that prima virginia known as blackshere. the parties filed cross-motions and 250,000 shares of trans energy stock for rights to the de novo standard of review. glynn v. edo corp., 710 f.3d 209, rights.9 improperly alleged the citizenship of republic partners and rev not mention the blackshere lease. reasonably clear and free from doubt . . . .” syl. pt. 1, maddy (explaining that “vague rumor or mere surmises are insufficient generally that it has a right to have rev remain as a party to cobham conveyed only the oil rights to the blackshere lease of plaintiff trans energy, inc. (“trans energy”). after the rights, as well as tort claims for trespass, conversion, and diligence prior to purchasing an interest in real property. see subject matter of the agency which the agent acquires or obtains competing ownership claim. the assignment contains the corporation was substituted as a defendant by epc, a certain parties.”) (emphasis added). instead, epc merely states remedy if the action is dismissed for nonjoinder. and therefore should have engaged in additional inquiry. for received title to the lease by virtue of the 2004 confirmatory not of record . . . .” eagle gas co. v. doran & assocs., inc., which consists of 3,800 acres of heavily forested, undeveloped of ingle v. yelton, 439 f.3d 191, 195 (4th cir. 2006); strag v. and transferred to hope.8 under rule 19(b), when joinder of parties is not feasible bd. of trs., craven cmty. coll., 55 f.3d 943, 954 (4th cir. as to rev, the plaintiffs now concede that it includes accordingly, we agree with the district court that the reference blackshere’s chain of title. although mr. starkey testified that he conducted only an “abbreviated” review, he did consult purchases for a valuable consideration, paid or parted with, epc offers three final arguments for why prima had notice it is undisputed that these indentures were blackshere lease to cobham gas industries, inc. (“cobham”) 491 (w. va. 1951). by rev’s absence. see dore energy corp. v. prospective inv. & exists “when a prospective buyer has reasonable grounds to steptoe & johnson, pllc, charleston, west virginia, for the oil and gas leases listed in exhibit a, and that exhibit b although not raised below, epc challenges on appeal whether indicates that the oil and gas rights were severed at any point. on october 22, 2012, the district court informed the argument on appeal, challenging whether subject matter 9 unfairly prejudiced by the decisions. see ingle ex rel. estate ignoring the remaining language in the memorandum and exhibit a. derives from any right in the property that hope transferred to conditions as contained in prior deeds of conveyance in this prod. co., no. 1:11cv75, 2012 wl 5906603 (n.d. w. va. nov. 26, b. and consolidated gas is irrelevant given that the 1965 deed does be employed only sparingly.” teamsters local union no. 171 v. summary judgment; (2) deny the defendant’s motion for summary 1995). we have reviewed the parties’ arguments and the record the defendant also challenges the grant of the of punitive damages. in light of our ruling on the merits in given these considerations, we deem this an appropriate case in specific conjecture is clearly insufficient to constitute importantly, though, the rule regarding unrecorded motion to supplement the record, and we find no jurisdictional actual evidence that made it into the record, which is clear, we district court simply had no evidentiary basis for concluding of the leases were simply oil leases or simply gas leases. conveyance must have been intended to transfer only the oil plaintiffs’ summary judgment motion; and (4) grant the have been acquired through “the exercise of ordinary diligence.” constructive notice known as inquiry notice. inquiry notice of the wells, under which is indicated “oil,” “gas,” or “oil and because of, among other things, nondiversity, a court must 10 anticipated motion for summary judgment. the parties then filed blackshere property (the “blackshere lease” or “lease”). the 23 this argument has no legal been tried in federal court, . . . considerations of finality, absence might be prejudicial to the person or those already from an overriding royalty interest in whatever production epc’s argument that had prima consulted hope’s chain of district court that unique circumstances in the price and superior title to the blackshere lease by virtue of its 314 (4th cir. 2010). the plaintiffs relied on diversity of representatives from prima toured the property prior to the 2004 charges him, with all notice or knowledge relating to the assignment. third, epc argues that prima had notice of its equities of third parties, so as to put him on inquiry into and is properly understood as a list of the wells being was the actual transfer document. without more, there was its interests to eastern states oil and gas, inc. in 1995. mentioned the 2004 assignment in testifying that the plaintiffs (“pennzoil”), entered into an oil and gas lease covering the referenced the 2004 assignment. clearly then, the evidence the leasehold interest to plaintiff republic partners vi, lp sufficient to sustain a contract”), we again agree with the epc asserts a variety of theories under which knowledge of claim as the rightful holder of those rights. the gas rights in the blackshere lease. in favor of the plaintiffs, this argument is functionally moot. 11 in making this determination, a court must evaluate: the district court had subject matter jurisdiction over the unbroken, recorded chain of title. competing interest may require the purchaser to conduct further to cobham; is that correct? lessened or avoided; third, whether a judgment discovery and to defer consideration of the plaintiffs’ constitutes the complete notice of a transfer and is all that memorandum opinions in accordance with its tentative letter 1902, south penn entered into two indenture agreements with 114, 120 (4th cir. 2004) (limited liability companies have the court reasoned that the purchasers should have inquired without notice of any suspicious circumstances to put him on its competing interest should be imputed to prima. first, it the plaintiffs have asked that rev be dismissed with prejudice. the plaintiffs’ expert also testified to the same effect, when, as it must be, the instrument is “construe[d] . . . as a in 2004 because it had notice of epc’s competing claim to recorded. as the district court noted, a purchaser is not in certain circumstances, references in the memorandum to a it argues that it is entitled to have rev remain as a possible (w. va. 2009). “in construing a deed, will, or other written prima ever received title to the blackshere lease. as noted, searching would have revealed epc’s competing claim, since it is concerns the interests of all the parties, not merely those of 20 decide whether “‘the action should proceed among the parties 9 § 1332(a)(1). the case was originally filed against eqt virginia department of environmental protection to drill a new 21 lease associated with those wells. thus, because “oil” is the 1, maddy, 105 s.e. at 803, it is clear that pennzoil transferred epc filed a motion for an extension of time to complete mistakenly attached a different, unrelated instrument. epc “contractual obligations” referred to potential ownership through an assignment and bill of sale (the “assignment”). the rights from its oil rights and allocate the gas rights to v. maddy, 105 s.e. 803 (w. va. 1921). seeking the same result. epc, on the other hand, argues that protective provisions in the judgment, by the shaping 14 discovery and was pending before the district court for over a 3 in 2011, trans energy was granted a permit by the west in 2004, the united states geological survey estimated previous conveyance exists.” id. further about the unrecorded deeds, given that the record a federal statute allows for the curing of jurisdictional finding of indispensability. having reviewed the parties’ knowledge of a competing interest in the property when it effect to the intention of the parties wherever that is carnegie and hope.1 information about competing interests. the memorandum merely lease – as well as its rights to the accompanying wells, as penn”), which would later become pennzoil products company . . . .” (emphasis added). this indicates the transfer of two acquired cobham’s interest in 2004. 213 (4th cir. 2013) (“we review a district court’s grant of a must “use reasonable diligence to determine whether such to cobham all of its rights in a series of oil and gas leases, reject epc’s argument on this point. (continued) inspecting that document as well. west virginia’s recording appealed the district court’s decision on the merits, as well as district court’s conclusion that the memorandum unambiguously as an initial matter, we have previously admonished that statute requires only the filing of a memorandum noting a believe th[e] property may have been conveyed in an instrument price fails to establish constructive notice. plaintiffs - appellees, the current defendant and to whom we refer as “epc” throughout. royalty interest in whatever production republic partners affirmed in part and members who are citizens of pennsylvania, the same as epc. to v. lewis, 519 u.s. 61, 75 (1996). both directives strongly the defendant first argues that the language of the before it, or should be dismissed’ because the absent party is additionally, the plaintiffs offered into evidence a written contractual obligations. there is no indication that the term f.3d 541, 552 (4th cir. 2006) (quoting fed. r. civ. p. 19(b)). the party proposed to be dismissed. see f. rule civ. p. 19(b) traversing numerous access roads and found no sign of epc’s two v. corporation.4 motions. that cobham conveyed to prima its interest in the lease via the epc also reiterates its argument, addressed above, that record title, that there is a chain directly from epc also argues more generally that prima’s title inquiry the “rights” section of exhibit b, which listed only “oil” punished for failing to conduct due diligence when all q. and do you know the date of that? without addressing why the 19(b) factors weigh in favor of a in any event, we note that the defendant has failed to show – or id. following provision: “a portion of [the transferred] land and defendant for its counterclaims should this court reverse the beyond the record”) (quoting eagle gas co, 387 s.e.2d at 102); such intent.” syl. pt. 4, zimmerer v. romano, 679 s.e. 2d 601 description of prima’s complete chain of title that specifically even suggest – a single, tangible way in which it will be harmed rev, whom we dismiss with prejudice. we also affirm the


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