Buck Keenan partner J. Robin Lindley represented the landlord in a lawsuit filed in Collin County District Court against a national restaurant chain. The tenant closed the restaurant during the COVID-19 pandemic, and claimed it was excused from its lease obligations due to Force Majeure, impossibility, impracticability and frustration of purpose. The tenant also filed a counterclaim against the landlord alleging breach of contract.
Prior to trial, Lindley obtained a partial summary judgment in landlord’s favor on both the legal defenses and counterclaims asserted by tenant. Following trial, the landlord was awarded damages of $285,000 representing the value of the rents remaining under the term of the lease agreement.
A HOUSTON COURT OF APPEALS GIVES NEW INSIGHT INTO THE DEFINITION OF “WILLFUL MISCONDUCT” IN JOINT OPERATING AGREEMENTS.
In light of the inherent risks and uncertainties associated with oil and gas operations, most joint operating agreements (“JOA”) contain an exculpatory provision. Such provisions shield an operator for liability unless the non-operator can prove that damages were caused by conduct that was the result of gross negligence or willful misconduct.