Legal or Illegal?

Have you ever been named as a defendant in a mineral royalty interpleader lawsuit?  Ever heard of such a thing?  In Arkansas, and especially in those counties in the Fayetteville Shale, oil, gas, and mineral royalty interpleader lawsuits are actually quite common.  Interpleaders are usually initiated by an operator when there is a title ownership dispute over the minerals.  In such a case, the well operator, who owes royalties to the rightful mineral owners, may initiate the interpleader lawsuit and name all possible claimants of the oil, gas, and minerals as defendants and request that the court determines the ownership.  The well operator will usually deposit the royalties and other disputed funds that are owed in an account that is held and managed by the circuit court clerk until the court determines the winner and orders a distribution. 

Title disputes can arise in a variety of situations, but usually, are caused by ambiguities in drafting title instruments.  Interpleaders are effective methods to resolve title disputes and are advantageous to an operator in Arkansas for a couple of reasons.  First, by initiating the lawsuit, and depositing the funds with the court registry, the operator is relieved of liability in connection to distributing those funds.  Second, the operator, in the discretion of the court, may receive an award of its attorney's fees from the disputed funds.  Thus, it is virtually risk-free for an operator to pursue an interpleader.

If you are named as a defendant in an interpleader lawsuit, the worst thing you can do is to rest on your laurels.  Rather, you should contact an attorney to discuss your rights, options, and chances of prevailing.  In Arkansas, you have 30 days to respond to the complaint or petition.  If you fail to respond, you may lose your right to claim ownership of the disputed mineral interest. 

The interpleader case will involve researching mineral title, thus you will want to contact a law firm with experience in that area.  Our firm, Daily & Woods, has represented clients in interpleader actions, and has represented plaintiff operators and defendant mineral owners in interpleader cases throughout Arkansas, including Heber Springs (Cleburne County), Morrilton (Conway County), Clinton (Van Buren County), Conway (Faulkner County), Russellville (Pope County), Searcy (White County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), Ozark (Franklin County), Johnson (Pope County), Fort Smith and Greenwood (Sebastian County).   If you have been served with an interpleader complaint, you can contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to discuss your options. 

Call Us at (479) 782-0361

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Call Us
(479) 782-0361

Get a Free Consultation
10.0C. Michael Daily


NWA Office

34 E. Center St., Suite 6

Fayetteville, AR 72701

 Peer Rated

Phone: 479-782-0361

Fax: (479)782-6160

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Mail: P.O. Box 1446

Physical: 58 South 6th Street

Fort Smith, AR 72901