Sanders LLP Secures Victory for Clients in Oil & Gas Royalty Title Dispute

Sanders LLP is pleased to announce the firm recently secured a victory for its clients in a dispute over title to oil and gas royalty interests. Firm founder Michael Sanders represented over a dozen members of an extended family in Denbury Onshore, LLC v. Ronald D. Smith and Kimberly Smith et al., which was tried in the 239th Judicial District Court of Brazoria County.  

The lawsuit began as an interpleader action for oil royalties from a property in Brazoria County. After the operator, Denbury, was dismissed from the suit, the remaining parties pursued their competing claims of title to the royalty interests. The individuals represented by Mr. Sanders were among the prevailing parties. 

Sanders LLP’s clients are the aunts and cousins of the first named defendant in the lawsuit. Members of the family asserted claims to royalty interests. All the parties claimed their interests under a common ancestor. A dispute arose over the size of the royalty interests that had passed to each of them.  

Following a non-jury trial, Judge Patrick Sebesta entered a judgment that included a complete vindication of the claims asserted by Sanders LLP’s clients. The court found that the parties represented by Mr. Sanders owned title to all the disputed royalty interests claimed by them.   

Before the lawsuit, Denbury had been paying royalties based on the same percentages the court found to be correct. Denbury suspended the royalties and filed the interpleader action after receiving a competing claim from one family member.  The court rejected the claims of that family member and found that Sanders LLP’s clients and other parties were claiming the correct royalty percentages. 

Michael Sanders often represents parties in oil and gas title disputes. His practice includes not only energy related issues such as these, but also a variety of business and real estate disputes. He can be contacted at 713-338-2677 or For more information about Michael Sanders, please see his bio on this website.