Phillips Petroleum Co. v. Yarbrough (Opinion)Annotate this Case
This suit was filed as a putative class action on behalf of Texas royalty owners alleging that Phillips Petroleum Company underpaid oil and gas royalties. The trial court certified three subclasses of royalty owners. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed as to two of the subclasses but reversed as to the third subclass, which alleged breach of a uniform express royalty provision contained in gas royalty agreements that amended the class members' leases. On remand, Respondent, class representative of the remaining subclass, amended her petition to add a claim for breach of the implied covenant to market. Phillips unsuccessfully filed various motions contending that there was no class claim for breach of the implied covenant to market. The court of appeals dismissed Phillips' interlocutory appeal for lack of jurisdiction and denied Phillips' petition for writ of mandamus. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the court of appeals erred in dismissing the interlocutory appeal for lack of jurisdiction; and (2) the trial court abused its discretion in allowing the addition of a class claim for breach of the implied covenant to market without requiring Respondent to file an amended motion for class certification or holding a certification hearing.