Blasi, et al. v. Bruin E&P Partners, et al.Annotate this Case
The Plaintiffs (“Blasi”) sued the Defendants (“Bruin”) in five separate cases in federal district court alleging Bruin underpaid royalties due under the terms of various oil and gas leases. Blasi accepted the royalties in cash rather than in kind. Blasi claimed the royalty was to be paid “free of costs” and asserted Bruin improperly deducted “various costs such as gathering or moving the oil and other costs” from the marketable price of the oil. The United States District Court for the District of North Dakota certified a question related to the interpretation of the lease: “Whether the instant oil royalty provision is interpreted to mean the royalty is based on the value of the oil ‘at the well.’” Blasi filed a motion requesting that the North Dakota Supreme Court decline to answer the question. The Supreme Court exercised its discretionary authority to answer the certified question, concluding that as a matter of law, that the royalty provision in this case established a valuation point that was at the well.