Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals | March 16, 2022


2022 OK CIV APP 5, 119557
Decided 06/29/2021
Mandate Issued: 03/09/2022

¶1 The parties dispute whether the location, use, and actual necessity of disposal wells exempts the disposal wells at issue from ad valorem taxation. Oklahoma Supreme Court precedent in Cumberland Operating Co. v. Ogez , 1988 OK 14 , 769 P.2d 105 , held disposal wells were required to be located on the specific lease of the drilling location for exemption from ad valorem taxation. This holding was overturned with the legislature’s 2013 amendments to 68 O.S. § 1001.1 (3), making the distinction of on or off lease irrelevant for taxation purposes. A disposal well is subject to gross production tax in lieu of ad valorem taxation if it is actually necessary and is in use or being used. No dispute as to the material facts was shown regarding the necessity and use of the disposal wells. Therefore, we affirm the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of BCE-Mach, LLC, determining the saltwater disposal wells at issue were subject to a gross production tax in lieu of ad valorem taxation.

2022 OK CIV APP 4, 118383
Decided 05/03/2021
Mandate Issued: 03/09/2022

¶1 Pursuant to a provision in the Last Will and Testament of Leslie B. Cates, deceased, Appellant Mark B. Pilz would be a beneficiary of Mrs. Cates’ estate if Mrs. Cates and Gerald Richey Cates died simultaneously. A nonjury trial was held on this issue after Mr. and Mrs. Cates died on the same date as a result of a murder-suicide. In its Decree filed in July 2019, the trial court determined Mrs. Cates “died first as a result of a homicide/suicide committed by [Mr. Cates] and that [Mr. Cates] died second.” Thus, the trial court found “by a preponderance of the evidence that there is sufficient evidence to support the finding that Mr. Cates and Mrs. Cates died otherwise than simultaneously,” and therefore concluded Mr. Pilz is not a beneficiary of Mrs. Cates’ estate. Mr. Pilz subsequently filed a motion for new trial which was denied by the trial court in its Order filed in October 2019. Based on our review, we affirm.