Search Team

Search by Last Name
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z

Abraham v. WPX Production Productions, LLC

Area of Law:

Breach of contract, violation of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Proceeds Payment Act. This putative class action arose from alleged royalty underpayments related to oil and gas leases in New Mexico and Colorado. Plaintiffs moved for class certification.

Grounds:

Defendants moved to strike plaintiffs’ expert’s testimony in support of class certification, arguing it constituted a legal opinion on class certification. Plaintiffs moved to exclude plaintiffs’ expert’s testimony on the customs and usage in the oil industry, arguing it would not be helpful.

Outcome:

The court granted defendants’ motion as to legal conclusions and denied the motion as to factual information. The court denied plaintiffs’ motion.

Analysis:

Defendants’ motion:

The plaintiffs’ expert, McArthur, opined that, based on his experience with oil and gas leases, case management, and class actions, the claims and types of evidence at issue in this case satisfy the elements for certification as a class action. The court found that the report contained numerous statements that have a distinct and specialized meaning in law. The issue of whether the case met class certification requirements is for the court, not the expert. But the court acknowledged that the expert report also discussed various technical issues involving leases and royalties, which would not be common knowledge, and that the court would consider in deciding class certification. Therefore, the Court allowed expert to testify regarding factual issues, but not ultimate legal conclusions.

Plaintiffs’ motion:

The court admitted the custom-and-usage testimony of expert Kris Terry because experts can usually discuss custom and usage within an industry and the testimony regarding oil-and-gas industry customs would assist in the court’s class certification decision.