HOUSTON – A Tulsa County jury determined that an oil and gas exploration company is not liable for alleged unpaid commissions to a land services broker.
Plaintiff Trex Properties provided land services, including acquisition and title services, to Tulsa-based oil company Triple Crown Energy and its subsidiary BCF Minerals. Trex helped procure leases totaling over 34,000 net mineral acres in Kansas. In exchange for its work, Trex’s contract called for Trex to be reimbursed for certain wholesale costs and to be paid a commission based on BCF Minerals’ net profits on the project. The parties’ relationship deteriorated and Trex was terminated. Trex sued BCF Minerals and Triple Crown Energy seeking reimbursement for approximately $100,000 in wholesale costs as well as a commission of approximately $2 million. Trex and its sister company, Paramount Field Services, asserted a number of additional tort claims against BCF Minerals and Triple Crown Energy.
Once trial began, Trex’s theme during its case-in-chief was that its managers were professional, competent, and hard-working, and Trex attempted to portray BCF Minerals’ principals as unprofessional and unethical. Bracewell completely neutralized this strategy by showing the jury repeated instances in which Trex’s manager’s testimony contradicted the documentary evidence, and by eliciting testimony regarding shockingly inappropriate text messages sent by Trex’s manager.
During the five-day trial, Bracewell demonstrated to the jury that Trex had failed to perform its services in accordance with industry standards, and that no commission was owed to Trex because Trex failed to prove that BCF Minerals had generated any net profits on the Kansas acreage.
The jury deliberated for several hours before delivering a verdict rejecting Trex’s claim for its commission and rejecting all remaining tort claims.