Houston, Texas-based law firm Gray Reed and Roswell, New Mexico-based Sanders Law Firm announce a cy pres donation of $228,772 to New Mexico Legal Aid (NMLA), a nonprofit organization providing free legal services to low-income New Mexico residents. The donation resulted from a class action settlement in a case styled The First Baptist Church of Roswell, The Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico, Inc., and The Roswell Woman’s Club, Inc. v. Yates Petroleum Corp., in which Jim Ormiston of Gray Reed and Kelly Mack Cassels of the Sanders Law Firm served as Class Counsel.
In 2016, the New Mexico Fifth Judicial District Court – Chaves County entered final approval of the $2.5 million class action settlement between the Plaintiff Class and Yates. The settlement was reached after 10 years of trial and appellate litigation surrounding the Plaintiffs’ claims that Yates failed to pay interest on suspended oil and gas revenues in accordance with the New Mexico Oil & Gas Proceeds Payment Act.
Following approval of the settlement, Class Counsel and the Settlement Administrator distributed the settlement funds to the class members who could be located. Despite diligent efforts, certain settlement class members could not be located, leading to the cy pres award, which allows for the distribution of unclaimed settlement funds to charitable causes.
Interim Director of NMLA Rosalie Chavez stated the donation will support NMLA “in representing low-income New Mexicans in order to meet their basic legal needs in housing, economic stability and safety.”
“This case resulted in significant and ongoing benefits to tens of thousands of New Mexico mineral owners who are now properly paid interest on oil and gas proceeds held in suspense,” Gray Reed Partner Jim Ormiston says. “We are proud to add New Mexico Legal Aid and its clients to the list of those who will benefit, and we are pleased that this cy pres donation will support NMLA in its mission to erase barriers to justice for low-income New Mexicans.”
ABOUT GRAY REED
A full-service Texas law firm with offices in Dallas, Houston and Waco, Gray Reed provides legal services to companies ranging from start-ups to the Fortune 100 as well as high-net-worth individuals. Gray Reed attorneys assist clients with a myriad of legal issues including commercial litigation, corporate transactions, oil and gas, real estate, construction, healthcare, tax planning and litigation, employment law, bankruptcy, intellectual property, trusts and estates, and family law. For more information, visit grayreed.com.
ABOUT SANDERS LAW FIRM
Founded in 1945, Sanders Law Firm is a full-service firm specializing in personal injury, family law, estate planning, workers’ compensation, social security, oil & gas, wills, trusts & probate and bankruptcy law. With two offices, Sanders Law Firm serves individuals, families and businesses in Roswell and throughout the state of New Mexico. To learn more, visit sbcw-law.com.
ABOUT NEW MEXICO LEGAL AID
New Mexico Legal Aid provides high-quality advocacy and legal representation to eligible and low-income individuals and families to help them help themselves toward safer, more stable, and healthier futures. To learn more, visit newmexicolegalaid.org.