Lon V. Smith Foundation v. Devon Energy Corp.Annotate this Case
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that a California court probate order distributing the estate of Lon V. Smith and a Wyoming court probate order to distribute the decedent’s Wyoming property, including a Carbon County overriding royalty interest (ORRI), governed, regardless of Mr. Smith’s intent as expressed in his will. In his will, Smith intended for the ORRI to be distributed to his wife, Marguerite B. Smith, for her life, and then to be distributed to the Lon V. Smith Foundation. The probate court orders distributed the ORRI to Mrs. Smith under the will’s residuary clause. The district court ruled that the Marguerite Brown Smith Trust (the beneficiary under Mrs. Smith’s will) owned the ORRI, not the Foundation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) correctly determined that the California probate order and the Wyoming ancillary probate ordered governed and that the Trust was the owner of the ORRI; (2) properly granted summary judgment to Devon Energy Corporation and Devon Energy Production Co. (collectively, Devon) on the Foundation’s claim that Devon violated the Wyoming Royalty Payment Act (WRPA); and (3) correctly found that neither party was entitled to attorney fees under the WRPA.