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Benjamin Holliday

Forum Selection Clauses and Trespass to Try Title v. Declaratory Judgment

In SM Energy v Union Pac. R.R. Co., the Texas Court of Appeals for Eastland held that SM Energy’s cause of action constituted a claim for declaratory judgment rather than trespass-to-try-title. Additionally, the court held that Texas courts did not have exclusive jurisdiction over the claims and allowed enforcement of the lease’s forum selection clause.

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Texas Will Interpretation Guidelines

Prather v. Callon Petroleum Operating Co., Inc., 648 S.W.2d 618 (Tex. App.—Eastland 2022, no pet.). Will Construction.

In Prather v. Callon Petroleum Co., the Eleventh Court of Appeals held that the phrase “survivor(s) thereof,” in the context of a testator’s will, constituted words of survivorship. This dispute centered on whether the testator intended the phrase to create a requirement that the listed beneficiaries survive the testator or whether the testator intended the phrase to prevent a lapse, thus allowing the heirs of the designated beneficiaries to take in their place. The court relied on principles of will construction handed down by the Supreme Court of Texas in prior cases and concluded that the phrase created a requirement that the beneficiaries survive the testator in order to take from the will.

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