Messner v. SWEPI, LP, 071714 FED3, 13-3813

Docket Nº:13-3813
Opinion Judge:McKEE, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:EDGAR H. MESSNER, Appellant v. SWEPI, LP
Judge Panel:Before McKEE, Circuit Judge, FUENTES and GREENAWAY, JR., Circuit Judges
Case Date:July 17, 2014
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit




No. 13-3813

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

July 17, 2014


Submitted Pursuant to Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a) June 26, 2014

On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (Civ. No. 4-13-cv-00014) District Judge: Hon. Matthew W. Brann

Before McKEE, Circuit Judge, FUENTES and GREENAWAY, JR., Circuit Judges


McKEE, Circuit Judge.

Edgar Messner appeals the district court's Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal of the action he filed seeking a declaration that an oil and gas lease of 159.97 acres of land in Tioga County, Pennsylvania is no longer in effect.1 We will affirm.2


The district court's opinion sets forth the factual and procedural history of this case in full, and we will therefore not repeat it here. See Messner v. SWEPI, LP, 2013 WL 4417723 (M.D. Pa. Aug. 14, 2013). Accordingly, we will only briefly recite facts and procedural history necessary to our disposition of this appeal.

On October 16, 2006, Messner and East Resources, SWEPI, LP's predecessor, entered into the disputed lease. The lease had a primary term of 5 years beginning on October 16, 2006. Paragraph 12 of the lease, the "Shut-In Royalty" paragraph, provides as follows:

If during or after the primary term of this lease, all wells on the leased premises or within a unit that includes all or a part of the lease premises, are shut-in, suspended or otherwise not producing for any reason whatsoever for a period of twelve (12) consecutive months, and there is no current production of oil or operations on said leased premises sufficient to keep this lease in force and this lease is not otherwise kept in force by other provisions of this lease, Lessee may maintain this lease in effect by tendering to Lessor a shut-in royalty equal to the Delay Rental as found elsewhere in this lease. Said shut-in royalty shall be paid or tendered to the Lessor within ninety (90) days after the next ensuing yearly anniversary of the Effective Date of this lease, and thereafter on or before each yearly anniversary of the Effective Date hereof while the wells are shut-in or production therefrom is not being marketed by Lessee. Upon payment of the shut-in royalty as provided herein, this lease will continue in force during all of the time or times while such wells are shut-in...

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