Court of Appeals of Texas, Seventh District, Amarillo
JOE B. NEUHOFF AND NANCY M. NEUHOFF; THOMAS H. NEUHOFF AND JUDY NEUHOFF; ROBERT
NEUHOFF AND ANDREA D. NEUHOFF; AND BOCA VAIL, INC., APPELLANTS
PIRANHA PARTNERS, RANDOLPH MUNDT AND THOMAS H. OWEN, JR., INDIVIDUALLY AND AS PARTNERS OF PIRANHA PARTNERS, AND CHARLES RAY OWEN, APPELLEES
Appeal from the 31st District Court Wheeler County, Texas
Trial Court No. 12, 960-A; Honorable Steven R. Emmert,
CAMPBELL and HANCOCK and PIRTLE, JJ. 
Patrick A. Pirtle Justice
appeal involves the proper construction of an assignment
purporting to convey an oil, gas, and mineral interest from
Neuhoff Oil & Gas Corporation to Piranha Partners. The
assignment in question was executed to be effective October
1, 1999, and it was recorded at Volume 467, Page 698, of the
Deed Records of Wheeler County, Texas. It is the peculiarity
of the description of the property or properties transferred
that gives rise to this dispute. Appellants, Joe B. Neuhoff,
Nancy M. Neuhoff, Thomas H. Neuhoff, Judy A. Neuhoff, Robert
V. Neuhoff, Andrea D. Neuhoff, and Boca Vail, Inc.
(hereinafter collectively "Neuhoffs") are the
successors in interest to the assignor while Appellees,
Piranha Partners, Randolph Mundt, Thomas H. Owen, Jr., and
Charles Ray Owen (hereinafter "Piranha") are
assignees or successors in interest to the assignee of the
assignment in question.
Neuhoffs originally sued Piranha seeking, among other relief,
a declaratory judgment that they owned all of a certain
overriding royalty interest accruing from an oil, gas, and
mineral lease covering Section 28, Block A-3, H&GN RR.
Co. Survey, Wheeler County, Texas, save and except that
portion assigned to Piranha by the assignment in question.
The Neuhoffs contend the assignment only conveyed to Piranha
their overriding royalty interest in a specific well drilled
on the Northwest Quarter (NW/4) of Section 28, to-wit: the
Puryear No. 1-28 well. Piranha subsequently filed a
counterclaim and cross-action for trespass to try title and
for a declaratory judgment finding that the assignment in
question conveyed the Neuhoffs' overriding royalty
interest, in its entirety, in Section 28 to Piranha.
April 29, 2014, Piranha filed its Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment requesting the trial court grant
summary judgment in its favor on the Neuhoffs' action to
quiet title and for slander of title. Piranha further prayed
that "Piranha is entitled to summary judgment as a
matter of law on [the Neuhoffs'] suit to quiet title and
for slander of title and title to the overriding royalty
interest burdening the Puryear Lease (covering the full
section) should be quieted in Piranha." On May 29, 2014,
the Neuhoffs filed their own Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment requesting the trial court grant summary
judgment declaring that they hold title to and own the
overriding royalty interest as to "all oil and gas
produced within Section 28, save and except that oil and gas
in place in the Northwest Quarter of Section 28, which is
produced from the Puryear 1-28 Well." A hearing on the
competing motions for partial summary judgment was heard, and
on March 21, 2016, the trial court entered an order
providing, in part, as follows:
It is, therefore, ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that the
Piranha Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
is in all matters GRANTED.
It is further ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that The
Neuhoff's [sic] Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
Directed Against Piranha Partners, Its Partners and Charles
R. Owen is in all matters DENIED.
addition to the two paragraphs cited above, the order severed
the remaining claims, counterclaims, and causes of action
pertaining to other parties from the action in this case,
presumably to make the summary judgment order a final,
appealable order. All other relief not expressly granted was
question concerning the finality of the judgment arose
because the order being appealed did not declare anything
other than that Piranha's partial motion for summary
judgment was granted and the Neuhoffs' partial motion for
summary judgment was denied. Because the order was facially
incomplete in that it required extrinsic evidence to clarify,
explain, or give meaning to its terms, this court ordered the
trial court to enter a judgment which more accurately
reflected the ruling of the trial court. See Neuhoff v.
Piranha Partners, No. 07-16-00136-CV, 2016 Tex.App.
LEXIS 10713, at *4 (Tex. App.- Amarillo Sept. 20, 2016,
order). Thereafter, on October 20, 2016, the trial court
entered its Order Clarifying This Court's Prior
Order, declaring Piranha to be the owner of the
overriding royalty interest covering the entirety of Section
four issues, the Neuhoffs contend the trial court erred by
(1) granting Piranha's motion for partial summary
judgment, (2) denying their motion for partial summary
judgment, (3) excluding certain summary judgment evidence,
and (4) implicitly excluding other summary judgment evidence.
We reverse the judgment of the trial court and render
judgment declaring Piranha to be the owner of the overriding
royalty interest covering the Northwest Quarter of Section 28
only and we remand this cause to the trial court for further
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
21, 1975, Billie Jean Mallot, and others, acting as Lessors,
and Marie Lister, acting as Lessee, executed an Oil, Gas
and Mineral Lease (the "Puryear Lease")
covering all of Section 28, Block A-3, H&GN RR Survey,
Wheeler County, Texas. The Puryear Lease was recorded in the
deed records of Wheeler County at Volume 247, Page 818.
that same year, Lister, as assignor, executed an
Assignment of Oil and Gas Lease, conveying an
undivided two-thirds interest in the Puryear Lease (covering
all of Section 28) to Neuhoff Oil and Gas Corp., as assignee.
This assignment was recorded in the deed records of Wheeler
County at Volume 247, Page 898. A correction assignment of
the same property was later recorded in the deed records of
Wheeler County at Volume 268, Page 760, on August 16, 1978.
years later, on August 14, 1978, Neuhoff Oil and Gas Corp.
and Three "L" Oil Company assigned all their right,
title, and interest in the Puryear Lease (covering all of
Section 28) to Bobby Reeves, subject to "the
Landowners' Three-Sixteenths (3/16th) Royalty
Interest" and a "one-sixteenth (1/16th) Overriding
Royalty Interest" reserved and retained by the
assignors. This assignment was recorded in the deed records
of Wheeler County at Volume 269, Page 209, on September 6,
September of 1999, Neuhoff Oil and Gas Corp. offered certain
properties for sale at an auction conducted by The Oil and
Gas Asset Clearinghouse. The
furnished all prospective buyers with an auction catalog
describing the properties being offered. Included within the
properties being sold by Neuhoff Oil and Gas Corp. was Lot
320.2, described as "Puryear 1-28" in Wheeler
County, Texas. The "property data sheet" for Lot
320.2 referenced only production data from the Puryear 1-28
to bidding on the property, Piranha made its own
investigation regarding the properties being sold and it was
provided for review a form assignment, identical to the
assignment it eventually received, save the omission of the
name of the grantee. The ...