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In re Jay Management Company, LLC

Court of Appeals of Texas, Ninth District, Beaumont

August 8, 2019

IN RE JAY MANAGEMENT COMPANY, LLC

          Submitted on June 11, 2019

          Original Proceeding 253rd District Court of Liberty County, Texas Trial Cause No. CV1307335

          Before McKeithen, C.J., Kreger and Johnson, JJ.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          PER CURIAM

         Jay Management Company, LLC, Relator, seeks mandamus relief from the trial court's order denying Relator's motion to quash and the trial court's order compelling Jay Management to produce a corporate representative for deposition and subpoena duces tecum in a tax appraisal suit between Joe Alfred Izen, Jr. and the Liberty County Appraisal District ("LCAD") concerning tax years 2013, 2014 and 2018. Jay Management is not a party to the underlying lawsuit between Izen and LCAD. In the underlying suit, Izen challenges the assessed value of the surface estate of his land that is part of certain oil and gas leases located in Liberty County, Texas. Izen does not own the mineral estate. Izen contends that Jay Management is the operator under the oil and gas leases and that the operator, Jay Management, is familiar with the pipelines and other oil and gas facilities that Izen contends limit the use of the surface estate and reduce the value of the surface estate. Izen's pleadings allege that the fair market value of his property for the 2013 and 2014 tax years was $305, 270.00 and the Liberty County Appraisal Review Board ("LCARB") over-assessed the property by $76, 970 in those tax years.[1]

         Izen seeks discovery from Jay Management, a non-party to his underlying suit. Jay Management complains that, except for documents reflecting the location of pipelines running through the subject property in the tax years at issue, none of the requested documents are relevant to the tax appraisal dispute and the requests are not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of relevant and admissible evidence. Jay Management further complains that documents reflecting the location of pipelines on the subject property, although potentially relevant to analyzing the "pipeline adjustment" applied to the appraised value of Izen's property, are cumulative and duplicative of documents previously produced by Jay Management or LCAD and are obtainable from publicly available sources and a simple inspection of Izen's property. We conditionally grant mandamus relief.

         In response to Izen's requests for production, LCAD provided copies of the documents it (or the appraisal review board) relied upon in 2009 to calculate a 20% pipeline adjustment based upon pipeline easements covering approximately three percent of Izen's property in the Kokernot Survey. In addition to the discovery sought from LCAD, the opposing party in the lawsuit, Izen sought non-party discovery from Jay Management. See generally Tex. R. Civ. P. 205.1. Izen's subpoena required Jay Management to produce the following documents:

1. All maps, drawings, surveys, and any photographs, or analog or digital images depicting and/or displaying the location of all of the following owned, operated, and/or maintained by Jay Management Company, LLC located on the [subject property] from 1980 to the current date including, but not limited to, the following:
a. Transmission pipelines
b. Storage tanks
c. Pumps
d. Gathering pipelines transporting or gathering ongoing mineral production
e. Gathering or transmission pipelines which are abandoned and/or inactive, but were once operated by Jay Management Company, LLC from 1980 or the current date.
f. Well heads
g. Producing wells including those producing oil, gas, and/or a ...

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