PHONE: 916.246.7306
FAX: 916.570.2525
EMAIL: thunckler@daycartermurphy.com

Tracy K. Hunckler

PRACTICE AREAS

Oil & Gas
Renewable and Traditional Energy
Litigation
Real Property and Eminent Domain

EDUCATION

University of California, Davis (J.D., 1995, Order of the Coif)
California State University, Chico (B.A.)

ADMITTED TO PRACTICE IN

California

Tracy Hunckler is a founding partner of Day Carter & Murphy with over 20 years’ experience as a California energy and oil and gas lawyer. Tracy is a seasoned litigator in state, federal, appellate, probate, private arbitration and administrative forums. She provides counselling to oil and gas clients on their legal and contractual obligations for upstream and midstream operations, including those under operating agreements, oil and gas leases and processing agreements. She assists her clients with CEQA and permitting issues and provides advice on the evolving laws governing energy operations in the State of California. Tracy also represents renewable energy providers with title issues and in disputes with landowners and litigates disputes involving solar and wind leases and power purchase agreements. When Tracy is not practicing in the energy industry, she handles general real property matters, easement issues, and eminent domain disputes. In all areas of her practice, Tracy places responding to her clients’ needs as a top priority and works closely with her clients to achieve their goals.

  • Downey Brand, LLP, Oil, Gas & Mineral Practice Group, Former Partner

Oil & Gas

  • Represented oil and gas companies in complex offshore leasing proposals and related title due diligence for financing transactions.
  • Advise clients on the interpretation and enforcement of the numerous provisions in Joint Operating Agreements and their related Exhibits, including Gas Balancing Agreements and COPAS Accounting Procedures.
  • Represent clients on aquifer exemptions and other permitting issues relating to Class II underground injection wells.
  • Advise clients on the interpretation of oil and gas leases, including allowable royalty deductions, consequences of a cessation of production, notice of default issues, suspension of royalties and consent to assign requirements.
  • Counsel major and independent oil and gas companies in all matters of legal and regulatory compliance affecting the exploration and production industry, including permissible royalty deductions, subsurface pass-through rights, oilfield development, project permitting and development and related Subdivision Map Act compliance, SB4 compliance, waste treatment and disposal, etc.
  • Represent major and independent oil and gas and geothermal companies in the negotiating, drafting, and analysis of all types of operational and transactional agreements, including purchase and sale agreements, joint operating agreements, unit agreements, farmout agreements, development and exploration agreements, leases, surface use agreements, easements, and power purchase agreements.

Renewable & Traditional Energy

  • Represent energy companies in the development of major underground gas storage projects in connection with the acquisition of rights in land for storage, pipeline and compressor station easements, and mineral owner consents, as well as the negotiation of master services agreements, drilling contracts, and other operational and transactional documents.
  • Represented wind company in dispute with landowners over alleged misrepresentations in lease negotiations, with successful result of no lease modification and recovery of attorney’s fees for wind company.
  • Represent wind and solar energy companies in land acquisition and development of commercial energy projects, with an emphasis on real estate, title due diligence, development agreements and related matters.

Litigation

  • Represented oil and gas companies before County Board of Supervisors and County Planning Commissions on issues involving the drilling of wells and seismic permits, together with related potential litigation.
  • Represented oil and gas companies in matters before the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources in connection with the securing of drilling permits and related matters, including in connection with a $150 million development project after the Division initially responded to Notices of Intent to Rework Wells by holding the drilling permits in abeyance.
  • Litigated multiple disputes before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), including appeals of CPUC decisions.
  • Represented public utility in acquisition by eminent domain of property rights necessary for the construction and operation of a natural gas storage project.
  • Represented public entities, oil and gas companies, and private individuals in eminent domain actions.
  • Represented oil and gas companies in property tax disputes relating to valuation of mineral interests.
  • Obtained favorable judgment and $500,000 attorney’s fees award for clients on breach of confidentiality agreement and misappropriation of trade secret dispute.
  • Successfully defended oil and gas exploration and production company against attempt to imply a covenant of further exploration into oil and gas lease, resulting in a published California Appellate Court decision. (Lundin/Weber Co. v. Brea Oil Co. (2004) 117 Cal.App.4th 427.)
  • Obtained dismissal with prejudice after opening statements at trial in action relating to breach of mineral grant deed, slander of title, breach of fiduciary duty and constructive trust.
  • Represented oil and gas and energy companies in litigation regarding a broad range of real property title disputes, including quiet title actions, adverse possession and prescriptive rights claims, and Dormant Mineral Act actions.
  • Represented oil and gas and energy companies in surface access and surface use disputes, including filing of temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions, as well as negotiating resolutions short of litigation.
  • Represented major and independent oil and gas and energy companies in a broad range of transactional and operational disputes involving, for example, joint operating agreements, area of mutual interest agreements, exploration agreements, oil and gas leases, confidentiality agreements, pipeline and marketing agreements, and well abandonment and related environmental issues.
  • Represented oil and gas and energy companies in litigation and alternative dispute resolution processes concerning royalty disputes, COPAS accounting procedures, post-production deductions, and related accounting issues.
  • Obtained favorable appellate decision before the First District Court of Appeal holding that the scope of a county road right-of-way includes the right to install natural gas pipelines. (Bello v. ABA Energy Corp. (2004) 121 Cal.App.4th 301.)
  • Represented project applicant in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on claims under the Clean Air Act.
  • Represented Raley's grocery chain in appeal relating to agency authority issues for partnership Super Store Industries. (Raley's v. Winter (2000) Third District Court of Appeals Case No. C030711.)
  • Represented oil and gas company in appeal of Kern County's taxation of non-producing oil, gas and mineral rights. (California Minerals, L.P. v. County of Kern (2007) 152 Cal.App.4th 1016.)
  • Obtained favorable trial court ruling that was affirmed on appeal granting motion to quash service of summons on oil and gas company based on running of the statute of limitations. (Horan v. Key Production Co. (2002) 2002 Cal.App.Unpub. LEXIS 9466.)
  • Represent clients in real property litigation, including disputes relating to easement rights, adverse possession and purchase and sale agreements.
  • Represented client in dispute involving claims of interference and unfair business practices based on client’s taking of a top lease.
  • Represented client in dispute involving termination of oil and gas lease due to cessation of production.
  • Represent clients in personal injury actions arising from oil field operations, including premises liability and defective design issues.
  • Represent clients in Probate court to resolve title and other matters relating to oil and gas interests that are held or distributed pursuant to trusts or wills.
  • Represented clients that have suspended the payment of royalties by interpleading the funds with the Court pending resolution of the related title dispute.
  • California Independent Petroleum Association, Associate Member
  • Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Member
  • Bakersfield Association of Petroleum Landmen, Member
  • Sacramento Petroleum Association, Member
  • State Bar of California, Environmental & Litigation Sections, Member
  • Sacramento Children’s Home, Past President
  • “Ethics for In-House Counsel: Best Practices for Establishing (and Maintaining) Attorney-Client and Work-Product Privileges in an Electronic World,” __ Rocky Mt. Min. L. Inst. __ (2019)
    July 2019
  • "Everything Old is New Again: Lease Maintenance Issues that Arise When Oil Prices Drop," 62 Rocky Mt. Min. L. Inst. 20-1 (2016)
    July 2016
  • Regulating Hydraulic Fracturing and Other Well Stimulation Treatments in California: An Analysis of Recently Proposed Interim-Period Regulations
    December 19, 2013
  • SB 4 - Interim Well Stimulation Treatment Notice & Certification
    November 21, 2013
  • Regulating Hydraulic Fracturing and Other Well Stimulation Treatments in California: An Analysis of Senate Bill 4
    September 23, 2013
  • AAPL Landman Magazine, "Top Leasing: From the Bottom Up"
    May/June 2012
  • LAAPL Override, "Use 'Em or Lose 'Em: A Warning to Severed Mineral Owners Dealing with Hostile Surface Owners"
    February 2011
  • 65th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute, “Ethics for In-House Counsel: Best Practices for Establishing (and Maintaining) Attorney-Client and Work-Product Privileges in an Electronic World”
    July 2019
  • Day Carter & Murphy LLP Bakersfield Breakfast Series, “Updates from the New AAPL Model Form Operating Agreement (Ironically Dated 2015)"
    May 2017
  • Private Client, “Farmout Agreements and JOAs” 
    May 2017
  • Private Client, "Key Considerations for Farmout Agreements"
    November 2016
  • 34th Annual West Coast Landmen’s Institute, “Co-Tenancy Rights and Obligations, With and Without a Joint Operating Agreement”
    September 2016
  • Private Client, "Surface Use and Right-of-Way Agreements in the Upstream Oil and Gas Industry"
    August 2015
  • Private Client, "Confidentiality and Indemnification Agreements in the Upstream Oil and Gas Industry"
    June 2015
  • Los Angeles Association of Professional Landmen, "Understanding SB 4: What's in it for You as a Land Professional"
    March 2014
  • 31st Annual West Coast Landmen's Institute, "The Changing Tide of Your JOA Form for Horizontal Operations"
    September 2013
  • Bakersfield Association of Petroleum Landmen, "A New Frontier for Oil & Gas Operators: The Uncertain Future of Well Permitting—Kern County Changes, CEQA Litigation, & DOGGR Hydraulic Fracturing Regs"
    January 2013
  • American Petroleum Institute, "A New Frontier for Oil & Gas Operators: The Uncertain Future of Well Permitting-Kern County Changes, CEQA Litigation, and DOGGR Hydraulic Fracturing Regs"
    January 2013
  • Day Carter & Murphy LLP Bakersfield Breakfast Series, "Use 'Em or Lose 'Em: Protecting Severed Mineral Owners from Adverse Possession"
    May 2012
  • AAPL Mining and Land Resource Institute, "Use 'Em or Lose 'Em: A Warning to Severed Mineral Owners-Dealing With Hostile Surface Owners"
    March 2012
  • 29th Annual West Coast Landmen's Institute, "Top Leasing: From the Bottom Up"
    September 2011
  • HalfMoon Seminars, "Gas, Oil, and Mineral Land Law"
    January 2010
  • HalfMoon Seminars, "Agreements and Disputes in Oil and Gas Production"
    October 2010
  • 27th Annual West Coast Landmen's Institute, "The Seismic Shootout: Winning the Duel with Problem Surface Owners"
    September 2009
  • Sacramento Petroleum Association, “Bello v. ABA Energy: Transportation of Gas in County Road Rights-of-Way”
    March 2005
  • 22nd Annual West Coast Landmen's Conference, "California Oil & Gas Law Update"
    September 2004
  • Sacramento Petroleum Association, "I've Got a Secret: How to Keep Oil and Gas Trade Secrets Secret"
    1999