Benz-Stoddard v. Aluminum Co. of America, BENZ-STODDARD

CourtSupreme Court of Texas
Citation368 S.W.2d 94
Docket NumberBENZ-STODDARD,No. A-9137,A-9137
PartiesClaireet al., Petitioner, v. ALUMINUM COMPANY OF AMERICA, Respondent.
Decision Date08 May 1963

Page 94

368 S.W.2d 94
Claire BENZ-STODDARD et al., Petitioner,
No. A-9137.
Supreme Court of Texas.
May 8, 1963.
Rehearing Denied June 12, 1963.

Waggoner Carr (Will Wilson), Attys. Gen., H. Grady Chandler, Linward Shivers, Asst. Attys. Gen., Austin, Carter, Gallagher, Jones & Magee, Dallas, William E. York, McAllen, Hart & Hart, Austin, for petitioners.

Vinson, Elkins, Weems & Searls, H. Raybourne Thompson, James E. Allison, Jr., James W. McCartney, with above firm, Houston, Clark, Thomas, Harris, Denius & Winters, James H. Keahey, with above firm, Austin, for respondents.

HAMILTON, Justice.

This is a suit brought by Aluminum Company of America to cancel a Railroad Commission order granting a Rule 37 exception permit to prevent confiscation of the minerals underlying Claire Benz-Stoddard's .115-acre town lot. The trial court sustained special exceptions to the petition and, when Aluminum Company refused to amend, dismissed on the ground that the petition did not state a cause of action for cancellation. The Court of Civil Appeals reversed and remanded. Tex.Civ.App., 357 S.W.2d 809. Claire Benz-Stoddard and the Railroad Commission are petitioners.

We reverse the judgment of the Court of Civil Appeals and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Since this case comes to us on a special exception in the nature of a general demurrer we must accept respondent's allegations as true. The allegations are as follows:

Underlying Claire Benz-Stoddard's .115-acre tract are ten vertically separated gas reservoirs, or horizons, among which there is no communication of gas. Multiple completion techniques make it possible to produce gas from as many as six of these reservoirs through only one well bore. The Commission's order granted Claire Benz-Stoddard's request for permit to drill one well and to make multiple completions in as many reservoirs as were productive. The order recites that the permit is granted to prevent 'confiscation and/or waste', but the parties agree that there was no issue of waste in this case, only of confiscation. Respondent alleged that because of the proration order in effect at this field at the time the permit was granted (1/3 of the allowable allocated on a per well basis and 2/3 allocated on a per acre basis), a single completion well during its life would make it possible for petitioner to recover more than her equivalent of the minerals in place in all ten reservoirs under her land, thus would fully protect her against confiscation. Respondent further alleged that petitioner has in fact made triple completions and has already recovered more than seven times the gas in place beneath her tract in all ten reservoirs, 84% of which has been drained from respondent's portion. Respondent did not allege that petitioner has access to any one of the ten reservoirs by means of another well on another tract. Respondent alleged that this was a voluntary subdivision but expressly waived and abandoned that allegation before the trial court.

The Court of Civil Appeals held that petitioner was entitled to an opportunity to recover the equivalent of her share in the ten reservoirs beneath her tract-not the

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specific minerals-and that since under the proration order in effect at the time the permit was granted she could with a completion in only one reservoir recover more than enough gas to make up her equivalent in all ten reservoirs, she was as a matter of law not entitled to multiple completions. In support of this holding the Court of Civil Appeals cites Gulf Land Co. v. Atlantic Refining Co., 134 Tex. 59, 131 S.W.2d 73; Atlantic Refining Co. v. Railroad Commission of Texas, 162 Tex. 274, 346 S.W.2d 801; Railroad Commission of Texas v. Williams, Tex., 356 S.W.2d 131; and Halbouty v....

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  • Coastal Oil & Gas v. Garza Energy Trust, 05-0466.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • August 29, 2008
    ...§§ 102.001-.112. See Railroad Comm'n v. Pend Oreille Oil & Gas Co., 817 S.W.2d 36 (Tex.1991). 44. Benz-Stoddard v. Aluminum Co. of Am., 368 S.W.2d 94 (Tex. 45. Brown v. Humble Oil & Ref. Co., 126 Tex. 296, 83 S.W.2d 935, 940 (1935) 46. Seagull Energy E & P, Inc. v. R.R. Comm'n., 226 S.W.3d ......
  • Woods Exploration & Prod. Co. v. Aluminum Co. of Amer., Civ. A. No. 14669.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • March 29, 1968
    ...element of damages, for it is clear that the suits were initiated with probable cause. In Benz-Stoddard v. Aluminum Company of America, 368 S.W.2d 94 (Tex. 1963), suit was brought challenging the validity of a Railroad Commission order, which, by treating vertically-separated reservoirs sep......
  • Railroad Com'n of Texas v. Pend Oreille Oil & Gas Co., Inc., C-9937
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • June 5, 1991
    ...& Weaver § 12.3(A)(3), at 19-20. 9 Railroad Comm'n v. Shell Oil Co., 380 S.W.2d 556 (Tex.1964); Benz-Stoddard v. Aluminum Co. of Am., 368 S.W.2d 94 1 Those policies included a liberal Rule 37 exception process for obtaining well permits on small tracts, along with large per-well allowable f......
  • Railroad Com'n v. Woods Exploration & Producing Co., A--10825
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • June 22, 1966
    ...would have enabled her to recover more than the quantity of gas under her land. Benz-Stoddard v. Aluminum Company of America, Tex.Sup., 368 S.W.2d 94. In the second case it was held that the large tract operators were precluded by lapse of time from attacking the 1/3--2/3 formula establishe......
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