Generally, a “Release” is a Written Agreement between Parties to Discharge or ‘Release’ One Party from a Claim or Claims that that the Other Party may Assert against Them. Typically One Party Receives Financial Compensation in Exchange for Releasing Claims Against the Other Party.
In the oil and gas arena Landowners are commonly asked to sign a ‘Release’ to discharge any claims or potential claims for property damages, personal injury, or other claims that the Landowner may assert against the gas or pipeline company. In exchange for the Landowner releasing claims against the company, the Landowner is provided financial compensation.
As a practice, gas and pipeline companies present a document entitled “Damage Release” to Landowners prior to paying the Landowner financial compensation for property damages incurred as a result of the company’s operations on the Landowner’s property. The Landowner must fully understand the impact and breadth of any Release before signing this important legal document. Most Damage Releases presented to Landowners are extremely broad and should be narrowly tailored to result in the Landowner only releasing limited and specific claims in exchange for the agreed upon financial compensation.
For example, a Damage Release for property damages should only release the company for claims of property damages and not also release the company from potential personal injury, environmental or other claims. Also, a Damage Release should only cover the agreed upon area of operations and not release the company from any damages occurring on the parcel but outside the agreed upon area of operations. Landowner must also proceed cautiously when asked to sign a Damage Release prior to a company conducting any operations on the property.
Remember, Damage Releases are drafted by experienced company lawyers and are generally designed to be as broad as possible in order to eliminate any and all future claims and company liability. Damage Releases are powerful legal contracts that must be reviewed with a knowledgeable attorney before signing.
Do not fall victim to an over broad Damage Release or other Release document. The Clark Law Firm, PC carefully reviews Damage Releases and other Release documents for Landowners. Doug will fully explain the potential impact of any Release document to the Landowner and when necessary will negotiate acceptable Release language for the Landowner’s benefit. Doug has negotiated acceptable Release language on behalf of Landowners with many different gas and pipeline companies. Attorney Doug Clark is Pennsylvania’s Landowner Lawyer and will protect you from overly broad company drafted Release documents. Contact us today!