A Harris County, Texas jury awarded $1.5 million to Jack Grynberg and his family, finding that Exxon Mobil did not act in good faith in determining the mineral royalties the company owed him.
Grynberg says he is owed even more and is considering appealing the verdict. Grynberg says his royalties compensation could have been nearly $40 million if a damages expert he hired had been permitted to testify before the jury. Grynberg, an 84-year-old resident of Denver and graduate of the Colorado School of Mines, said that he had been in the oil business since 1953. Grynberg said he suspected something wrong when he noticed that his mineral royalties from Kinder Morgan were 40 percent higher than his royalties from Exxon Mobil.
“I will not be cheated,” said Grynberg.
The lawsuit and similar lawsuits filed recently may inspire other royalty owners to take legal action. A major problem for many royalty owners is that the royalty statements they receive from production companies are often a single page, with no information on how the royalties were calculated or what costs were deducted. Some lawsuits have accused companies of deducting “post-production” costs from royalty payments.
Grynberg’s land contains large reserves of carbon dioxide gas, which is used to boost production in oil wells. The jury found that Exxon Mobil paid royalties based on less than the market value of the carbon dioxide.