The Texas Board of Legal Specialization has certified approximately 135 Texas lawyers as Board Certified in Construction Law. Lovein Ribman’s construction law department is overseen by two of those Board Certified lawyers. We represent every trade in the industry, from earthwork contractors, concrete contractors, HVAC contractors, steel fabricators, masonry suppliers and installers, electricians, structural repair contractors, plumbers, truss manufacturers, roofers, painters, commercial glass fabricators and installers, fire suppression contractors, and so on . . . We counsel and represent property owners, architects, engineers, developers, sureties, general contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers with every type of legal issue encountered on commercial, industrial, oil & gas plants, residential and public construction projects or running a construction-related business. Our construction attorneys have been tried and tested, and are experienced in all aspects of construction law, to include enforcing payment through the mineral lien, mechanics lien, and bond claim process; foreclosure actions; defending and/or prosecuting design claims, defect claims, and delay damage claims; and with drafting, reviewing, and modifying all types of residential and commercial contracts. We understand your industry. We listen to your needs. We will add value to your company.
The Oil & Gas Mineral Lien Process
We have filed tens of thousands of Oil & Gas Mineral Liens and Construction Mechanic’s Liens for our clients in nearly every county across the entire state of Texas. Based on our experience, we believe that there is nothing stronger that an unpaid contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or laborer can do to secure payment of its unpaid invoices on an oil/gas project than invoke the Mineral Lien process. The key is to begin the process early and retain a Board Certified Construction Lawyer to assist you. If you are looking to serve a Preliminary Notice, file a Mineral Lien, or to foreclose a Mineral Lien, please contact us for a no obligation consultation by calling (888) 368-2483 or by submitting the form below. Read below to learn more about the lien process and the statutory deadlines.
What is an Oil & Gas Mineral Lien?
If you have provided labor, materials, equipment, or services to an oil well, gas pipeline, or midstream processing plant and have not been paid, then you may be entitled to record a Texas Property Code Chapter 56 “Mineral Lien” to secure payment of your unpaid invoices. A Mineral Lien differs from the standard Texas Property Code Chapter 53 mechanic’s lien, in that it attaches to the mineral rights, material, machinery, equipment, and leasehold interest in the property and is only available to those who have improved an oil and gas related project. The requirements and deadlines to perfect a Mineral Lien differ from the standard mechanic’s lien and are strictly enforced by our courts. If the Mineral Lien is not informally resolved, then the lien claimant has the right to file a lawsuit to foreclose the lien and recover payment of the debt, plus attorneys’ fees and costs. It has become the practice, as opposed to the exception, for all categories of contractors, subcontractors, engineers, material suppliers, and laborers to routinely serve and file all necessary lien documents on oil/gas projects as a means to protect their unpaid invoices.
The Subcontractor’s Mandatory Notice of Intent to Lien
If you were not hired directly by the property owner or leasehold interest owner, then before you can record the Mineral Lien Affidavit, you must first serve the property owner/leasehold interest owner with a Notice of Intent to Lien. The Notice must be served 10 days before recording the Mineral Lien affidavit and include the following information: (1) the amount of the lien; (2) the name and address of the company or individual who retained your services; (3) a description of the property, leasehold interest, or pipeline; and (4) a description of the unpaid labor, material, services, or equipment. In response to the Notice, a property/leasehold interest owner may withhold the amount claimed owed from the prime contractor until the debt is resolved. However, the property/leasehold interest owner is not liable to a lien claimant for any amount above what is owed to the prime contractor at the time the Notice is received. As such, all lien claimants should make it a practice to routinely serve the Notice after completing the work or as soon a payment dispute is anticipated. To increase the probability of being paid, the Notice should be prepared as a strong payment demand letter that addresses the Texas Trust Fund Statute, the Texas Prompt Payment Act, and possibly the Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
The Oil & Gas Mineral Lien Affidavit
In order to perfect an Oil & Gas Mineral Lien against an oil well, gas plant/pipeline, or midstream processing plant, you must prepare and record a lien affidavit in the county where the property is located and timely serve the lien affidavit on the leasehold interest owner and the prime contractor. The lien affidavit must include the following information: (1) the identity of the mineral property owner; (2) the claimant’s name and mailing address; (3) the dates the labor, materials, equipment, and/or services were provided to the project; (4) a description of the land, leasehold interest, pipeline, or pipeline right-of-way; and (5) an itemized list of the amounts claimed owed to include the nature of the labor, materials, or equipment. For anyone not hired directly by the property owner or leasehold interest owner, the affidavit must also include: (1) the identity of the individual or company who retained your services; and (2) a statement that the party timely served the Notice of Intent to Lien discussed above. The affidavit must be notarized and sworn to as being true and correct.
Deadline to Record and Serve the Oil & Gas Mineral Lien
A Mineral Lien claimant must record the lien affidavit with the county clerk’s office where the property is located by no later than six months after completion of the work. For laborers paid by the day or by the week, the deadline to file the lien affidavit begins to accrue at the end of the day or week during which the labor was provided. It is never a good idea to suspend filing the lien. The better practice is to record the lien as soon as you anticipate a payment dispute. Once recorded, the lien affidavit must be served within 5 days of being recorded. To increase the probability of being paid, the lien affidavit should be served as an enclosure to a strong payment demand letter that addresses the Texas Trust Fund Statute, the Texas Prompt Payment Act, and possibly the Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Deadline to File a Lawsuit to Foreclose the Mineral Lien
If filing the lien does not result in payment, you must file a lawsuit to foreclose the lien within no later than 2 years from filing the lien affidavit. If you prevail on the lien foreclosure, the court is required to award all reasonable and necessary attorneys’ fees and costs.