Elmen Holdings v. Martin Marietta, No. 23-20023 (5th Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
The original leaseholder transferred its interest to Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. (“Martin Marietta”), in 2014, and Elmen Holdings, L.L.C. (“Elmen”), acquired title to the underlying land in 2018. Elmen contends that Martin Marietta did not make required royalty payments to it or prior lessors; Elmen sought a declaration that the lease had terminated. Both parties moved for summary judgment, and a magistrate judge recommended that the district court grant Elmen’s motion and deny Martin Marietta’s. The district court adopted that recommendation.
The Fifth Circuit disagreed with the magistrate judge’s and district court’s reasoning, but affirmed the summary judgment for Elmen and affirmed the denial of summary judgment for Martin Marietta. The court explained that a payment or tender—such as Martin Marietta’s April 12 check— made to someone other than the lessor is not made “in the manner provided” by the Gravel Lease. The sentence in paragraph six that Martin Marietta relies on does not apply. Further, the court wrote that the undisputed facts show that Martin Marietta failed to pay royalties in 2017, received adequate notice of this failure, and did not cure within ten days of that notice. Therefore, the Gravel Lease terminated ten days after Martin Marietta received the relevant email, and summary judgment in favor of Elmen is warranted.