Kimzey, et al v. Flamingo Seismic, No. 11-6211 (10th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs brought a trespass action for damages to their land caused by Defendant's seismic exploration activities. Plaintiffs originally filed their action in Oklahoma state court, but Defendant removed it to federal district court based on diversity of citizenship. Defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that it had permission to enter the property and conduct seismic testing from owners of the mineral rights and/or oil and gas leasehold rights, which lie under the surface estate of Plaintiffs' properties. The district court agreed and granted summary judgment for Defendant. Defendant then sought an award of attorney's fees pursuant to title 12, section 940(A) of the Oklahoma Code. The district court awarded Defendant $71,560 in attorney's fees as the prevailing party. Plaintiffs appealed both the summary judgment and the award of attorney's fees. Upon review, and "in the face of […] clear Oklahoma precedent," the Tenth Circuit concluded there was no merit to Plaintiffs' challenge to the grant of summary judgment, or their argument that section 940(A) did not apply to the facts of the case. Furthermore, the Court concluded the district court did not abuse its discretion in arriving at the final amount of the fees. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the district court's judgment.