Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

1398 Posts and Counting

Unitization and Pooling for Horizontal Drilling is the Name of the Game in PA

Unless prohibited by lease language, an operator will now have the right to pool multiple leases and incorporate them into a horizontal drilling plan. Further, unless there is a division order specifying the allocation of royalties among owners, the operator may allocate the royalties among the interest holders in the proportion that the operator reasonably believes to be attributed to each property.

Commonwealth Court Ruling on Act 13 Oil and Gas Regulation is Not the Last Word.

No. 894 On July 26, 2012, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court decided a Constitutional challenge to Act 13, the latest legislative attempt to regulate the booming oil and gas industry.  By a 4-3 vote it found certain provisions of the statute unconstitutional. See Robinson Township et al. v. Commonwealth, No. 248 MD 2012, not yet found […]

Marcellus Legal News: Multiple Lease Assignments Must Be Recorded and Indexed.

No. 860 The Commonwealth Court has ordered the Recorder of Deeds of Wayne County, PA to record multiple assignments of oil and gas leases.  The Recorder had refused to accept multiple assignments because their computer system was unable to index the names. The increase in Marcellus Shale leasing has, according to the Wayne County Recorder, […]

Can an Oil and Gas Lease be Rejected in Bankruptcy?

No. 740 Babst Calland, a Pittsburgh law firm with a substantial energy law practice, has posed a great question on their blog.  Can a landowner reject an oil and gas lease as an executory contract under Section 365 of the Bankruptcy Code? But why would a landowner want to do so?  At the present time, […]

Dear Free Lawyer — Answers To Legal Questions For Nothin’.

No. 729 Dear Free Lawyer: I have to make lots of trips to the bathroom due to one of those conditions that come with age. Am I entitled to get unemployment as a door to door salesman because I can’t do my job? — Frequent Flyer Dear Frequent: Don’t count on it.  For one thing, […]

The Light Bulb Goes On . . .

No. 725 Aha Moment No. 725. Ann Althaus, the law prof from the University of Wisconsin who blogs a lot more about politics than law, quotes a WSJ blog about a prosecution of some oil and gas companies over a bird kill in North Dakota involving 28 avians. She then wonders out loud whether wind […]

Marcellus Shell Games.

With over 150 years of experience in gas production, you would think that our region would be pretty comfortable with the subject. But apparently not. The recent boom in Marcellus Shale gas leasing and operation has stirred a lot of controversy. South Fayette Township recently joined a growing list of municipalities that are adopting comprehensive ordinances seeking to regulate the industry within its borders. Although the State has comprehensive regulations which would seem to pre-empt local ordinances, the courts have permitted local regulation. And the City of Pittsburgh and, recently, Wilkinsburg Borough have entirely banned Marcellus drilling from their jurisdiction. This is due to environmental concerns, including fears that fracking fluids will pollute our drinking water.

Westmoreland County Suit Against Rex Energy, Inc. Settled.

No. 658 A group of landowners who executed leases with Rex Energy, Inc. have reached a settlement on their claims for bonuses on leases which the driller had obtained but never accepted. Many leases, not just those from Rex, were written in such a way that the lessee could accept or reject the lease after […]

Will the person who contacted me with oil and gas question please try again?

No. 558 I picked up an email question through the contact box (right margin, scroll down a bit) about oil and gas leasing.  I wrote a reply, but it bounced back, apparently due to and error in the email address.  Contact me again with an improved email address and I will  send the answer.


CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 40 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.


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