Face Challenges Confidently

087 Valero Eastex Pipeline Co. v. Jarvis

Friday, September 4th, 2015

Richard F. Brown

The following is not a legal opinion. You should consult your attorney if the case may be of significance to you.
In Valero Eastex Pipeline Co. v. Jarvis, 926 S.W.2d 789 (Tex. App.—Tyler 1996, no writ history) a pipeline condemned an easement expressly excepting the mineral rights, and, under the terms of the easement, obligated itself to relocate the pipeline in the event of coal and lignite mining activities. On appeal it was held that the pipeline was entitled to condemn whatever interest was necessary for public use, but it could not force the landowners to accept the pipeline’s promise to move its pipeline. A condemnor cannot make promissory statements regarding its future intentions, the effect of which is to prevent a landowner from recovering all damages in a single proceeding. The pipeline company and the landowner could agree that the pipeline company may from time to time remain liable for future damages, but the courts will not force such an agreement on landowners.
The significance of the case is the holding that a pipeline may condemn whatever it needs and pay for it, but it may not limit its present obligation to pay by a conditional promise to pay more if an event occurs in the future.