Oil and gas lawsuit affects Baylor land

By Madison Miller

Baylor University filed a petition in intervention in a lawsuit against Gaither Petroleum Corp., Gaither Asset Management Inc. and Orville Duane Gaither II on Jan. 12. The petition involves a Baylor-owned oil lease.

Baylor owns a tract of land in Wood County that includes around 100 acres. Gaither was given 80 percent interest in the Baylor lease.

In the petition, Baylor claims that the defendants “decided to intentionally violate lease terms.”

According to the petition, if a lease is not producing oil, it expires. The Baylor lease was one of the non-producing leases managed by Gaither. Baylor alleges that Gaither decided to pool oil from its non-Baylor producing leases and claim that it was coming from the non-producing ones. The lease terms that were allegedly violated “expressly prohibited or restricted pooling.”

Additionally, Baylor alleges that the defendants committed fraud to convince Baylor to waive their terms regarding pooling.

Because it was non-producing, the petition states that Baylor’s lease expired Dec. 14, 2013 and that Gaither has trespassed after that date on the Baylor property interests and caused damages.

“Baylor sues Defendants for all damages proximately caused by Defendant GPC’s violations of the statutes and rules governing its actions as operator of the jointly owned wells and leases,” the petition states.

The trial is set for June 1 with a pre-trial hearing on Feb. 20. Baylor has demanded a trial by jury.

Pioneer Royalty, Inc., the plaintiff, originally filed the lawsuit against the Gaither defendants April 27, 2012.