The Haynesville Shale is stirring up a new controversy in Bossier Parish.
A lawsuit was filed in Bossier District Court Monday against James M. Brown Builder, Inc, Brown's Property Development, Inc, James M Brown Real Estate, Inc & Brown Builders, Inc. Audubon Oil & Gas Corp and Twin Cities Development LLC were also named in the suit, as well as individual members of the Brown family.
The suit was filed seeking class certification. If this is granted, it means that anyone who purchased property from any of the Brown Companies in Bossier Parish would qualify to benefit from the suit.
The suit was filed by Charles & Carol Casares, Darbi Rice, Brian Rice, Melvin Edwards III, Joyce Edwards and 'other similarly situated persons'.
The lawsuit alleges that the various companies sold them property and that the deeds contained no mineral reservations. One of the plaintiffs was told by Twin Cities Development that they could not execute a lease on their property, because the Browns owned the rights.
Here's what happened.
In July of 2006 the 4 Brown Companies executed a mineral deed to 4 of the individual owners, giving them ownership of any mineral interests on property that the companies owned at that time. The subdivisions listed on the mineral deed are:
Bossier Golden Meadows
Plantation Trace Estates
Plantation Trace Garden Homes
Brown Office Park
Shady Grove Unit I replat
Northgate Temperature Controlled Subdivision
Southgate Estates Unit 6 replat
as well as various undeveloped properties with metes and bounds descriptions.
The named plaintiffs bought their houses and lots in December of 2006 and in early 2007, 6 months after the companies had transferred all mineral rights to the individual members of the Brown family.
On June 10, 2008, 2 of the individual Brown owners executed an oil & gas lease to Twin Cities Development that covered 28 different tracts, some of those tracts including multiple subdivision lots.
Among those lots were the Casares, Rice and Edwards property.
The plaintiffs said that the Brown companies, at the time of sale, did not reserve mineral rights on the properties they purchased.
I'm sure that the Brown's defense will be that the companies did not own any mineral rights to reserve, as they had already been transferred.
We will update you on this case as it progresses.