Geochemical Surveys v. Dietz – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In Geochemical Surveys v. Dietz, 340 S.W.2d 114 (Tex.Civ.App. -- Austin 1960, writ ref'd n.r.e.), owners of a farm sued an oil well lessee in 1958 for destroying their water wells by negligently disposing of salt water in unlined earthen pits on the farmers' property and adjoining lands between 1952 and 1957.

The defendant argued that the owners' cause of action accrued when the salt water was first deposited into the earthen pits. Id. at 116.

The Dietz court held that the acts of the lessee "in depositing salt water in the earthen tanks ... did not constitute an invasion of appellees' property, were not necessarily injurious to it, and they, of themselves, gave appellees no cause of action." Id. at 117.

Rather, the injury sustained by the landowners "was the pollution of their well. Prior to this injury appellees had no cause of action." Id.