RS 56:700.12     

§700.12.  Damages to oyster leases; mineral activity; settlements and claims

Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, including but not limited to R.S. 56:423 et seq., the claim of any lessee of oyster beds or grounds who is requested to enter into a settlement for damages which may occur due to an oil and gas activity which proposes to intrude upon the leasehold may be settled in the following manner:

(1)  If the leaseholder and the owner of the oil and gas activity agree to settle for a fixed amount the settlement shall be in writing, signed by both parties, granting the activity for the agreed upon sum which shall be paid immediately.

(2)  In the event that a settlement is reached there shall be no further claims or demand for damages thereafter for the activity upon which the agreement was made.

(3)  If a settlement cannot be reached between the leaseholder and the owner, either party may file a request with the board for arbitration and final determination of the actual damages to the oyster lease due to the mineral activity thereon.

(4)  If the claim is brought before the board, the owner of the oil and gas activity shall, at its1 own expense, have a biological survey made of the leased premises to determine the quality and value of the beds and grounds which will be involved in the proposed operation.  A biological survey shall be performed before the operations begin and upon completion of the activity.

(5)  If the claim is brought before the board, the owner of the oil and gas activity shall file the initial biological survey with the board and pay a deposit to the board based on estimated damages as determined by the board after consideration of the results of the biological survey and any other information provided to the board.  After payment of the deposit, the owner may proceed with his proposed activity.  Upon completion of the activity, the owner of the oil and gas activity, at his own expense, shall have another biological survey performed and filed with the board so that actual damages to the leasehold may be determined by the board.

(6)  All claims shall be evaluated expeditiously based on biological test data done before and after the activity over or on the beds occurs, and upon determining actual damages the claim shall be immediately paid to the board by the owner for the benefit of the leaseholder.  Upon payment of the damages by the owner there shall be a presumption created in favor of the owner that actual damages are paid in full.

(7)  If the leaseholder or owner is not satisfied with the decision of the board he may obtain judicial review by a suit in district court of the parish where the leasehold improvements are situated.  The burden of proof for liability and damages and all costs shall be borne by the party seeking judicial review. If the district court upholds the findings of damages by the board the party seeking judicial review shall pay all costs and attorney fees of the other party.

Acts 1995, No. 1304, §1, eff. June 29, 1995; Acts 1997, No. 1115, §1; Acts 2004, No. 282, §1, eff. June 15, 2004; Acts 2005, No. 438, §1, eff. July 11, 2005.

1As appears in enrolled bill.  Should be "his".