The plaintiff in Coe v. Chesapeake Exploration won a $20 million judgment for breach of a contract to buy rights in the Haynesville Shale formation, against the background of a a “plummet” in the price of natural gas. No. 11-41003 (Sept. 12, 2012). The Fifth Circuit affirmed. After review of other analogous energy cases, the Court found that the parties’ writing had a sufficient “nucleus of description” of the property to satisfy the Statute of Frauds, even though some review of public records was required to fully identify the property from that “nucleus.” Id. at 11-12. The Court also found that the parties had reached an enforceable agreement and that Plaintiff had tendered performance, finding an “adjustment clause” specifying a per-acre price particularly relevant on the tender issue. Id. at 16, 17-18.
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