Gray Reed

Joshua Smeltzer was recently quoted by Law360 in an article on cryptocurrency enforcements: “The John Doe summons is probably one of the most powerful tools the government has,” Joshua Smeltzer, counsel at Gray Reed, told Law360.  “Every time the IRS gets information from John Doe summonses, or from audits, or from the threatening letters that they sent out previously — all of that stuff generates data,” he said. “The IRS can then use that data to decide what indicators are available to narrow the field.” Smeltzer was referring to some 10,000 letters the IRS sent to cryptocurrency users in 2019,…
Co-author Brittany Blakey In Headington Royalty, Inc. v. Finley Resources, Inc., this release was included in an acreage swap agreement: Headington waives, releases, acquits and discharges Petro Canyon and its affiliates and their respective… predecessors and representatives for any liabilities… related in any way to the Loving County Tract…” The swap agreement did not explicitly mention Finley Resources, and Finley did not execute the agreement. The question Was “predecessors” limited to prior corporate forms of the released party and its affiliates, or did it include predecessors-in-title?  The court held that Finley was not a corporate predecessor of Petro Canyon or its…
A new client presents a great opportunity, but there is also great risk that the relationship will not be a good fit. If the client is not a good fit it will be bad for both sides and result in hurt feelings, damaged reputation or worse.  Here are some steps for conducting successful interviews with potential clients.…
Co-author Rusty Tucker What if you pay good money for a mineral interest and record the deed in the official public records, thereby securing your title? What if your predecessors-in-title decide among themselves they made a material mistake in a conveyance way back in the chain of title, fix the alleged error, and record the correction deed? What if they don’t seek your approval and don’t even bother to tell you about the fix? What if that is deemed to be an acceptable way of correcting real property instruments? Here’s what: Chaos, loss of your property rights, not to mention…
One of the most powerful tools in the Internal Revenue Service arsenal is the John Doe summons. However, as we all learned from Spider-Man, with great power comes great responsibility. Although it ultimately approved an IRS request to serve a summons for information on the popular cryptocurrency exchange Kraken Inc., the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently reminded the IRS of this principle. Statements in the court’s recent order allowing the summons provide hope for cryptocurrency investors who are worried about their private information being included in the broad net the IRS is casting in an…
In the fifth and final installment on the climate change debate, Gray Reed energy partner Paul Yale considers (and responds to) another criticism of Bjorn Lomborg’s False Alarm: How Climate Panic Costs Us Billions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet. Joseph Stiglitz in the New York Times negatively reviewed False Alarm … .  Stiglitz, well-qualified as a professor of economics at Columbia University and a Nobel Prize laureate, accuses Lomborg of being simple and simplistic and implies that Lomborg admits there’s not much we can do about climate change. This is not an accurate portrayal of the…
CORRECTED Co-author Ashley Atwood* Apache Corporation v. Castex Offshore Inc. et al, answers the question, What constitutes willful misconduct in oil field operations? This was a breach of contract suit involving operator Apache and non-operator Castex. In the exculpatory clause of the model form JOA, the operator can be liable only in the event of gross negligence or willful misconduct. In considering willful misconduct, under both the Texas and Louisiana definitions of “willfulness”, intent to cause harm is not required. The question is whether the evidence establishes that a defendant-operator intentionally or deliberately engaged in improper behavior or mismanagement, without…
Clients come from many sources.  Most of our practices deal with clients who are having problems with the IRS.  These problems can range from a simple audit to serious criminal problems.  The first two things that come to mind are 1) who do we want for our clients and 2) how do we select clients who will follow our advice?…
In Opiela v. Railroad Commission of Texas and Magnolia Oil and Gas Operating, LLC, an Austin district court determined that the Commission’s Final Order granting a permit for a Production Sharing Agreement well in Karnes County did not comply with the Administrative Procedure Act. Here is the Commission’s hearing examiners’ recommendation. It is 18 pages, but we won’t venture into the weeds. In particular, the court said that the Commission erred in: Approving the initial unit well permit for the Audioslave A 102H well in Karnes County; Determining it had no authority to review whether an applicant seeking…