Gulf Refining Co of Louisiana v. United States Mullen v. Same, Nos. 59

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtSUTHERLAND
PartiesGULF REFINING CO. OF LOUISIANA et al. v. UNITED STATES. McMULLEN et al. v. SAME
Docket NumberNos. 59,60
Decision Date16 November 1925

269 U.S. 125
46 S.Ct. 52
70 L.Ed. 195
GULF REFINING CO. OF LOUISIANA et al.

v.

UNITED STATES. McMULLEN et al. v. SAME.

Nos. 59, 60.
Argued Oct. 19, 1925.
Decided Nov. 16, 1925.

Page 126

Mr. S. L. Herold, of Shreveport, La., for appellants.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 126-128 intentionally omitted]

Page 129

Mr. H. L. Underwood, of Washington, D. C., and The Attorney General, for the United States.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 129-133 intentionally omitted]

Page 133

Mr. Justice SUTHERLAND delivered the opinion of the Court.

These are second appeals of two of the cases which were before this court in Mason v. United States, 260 U. S.

Page 134

545, 43 S. Ct. 200, 67 L. Ed. 396. The suits were brought by the United States to have its title to certain tracts of land confirmed, its possession thereof restored, and defendants enjoined from setting up claims thereto, etc. In addition, the government prayed for an accounting in respect of the oil and gas removed from the lands by the defendants. We held that the suits primarily involved the question of title to the lands and their protection against continuing trespasses, to which the accounting was incidental and dependent, and that the causes of action being, therefore, essentially local, the measure of damages to be allowed on the accounting came within the controlling scope of article 501 of the Civil Code of Louisiana, under which the cost of production must be first deducted from the value of the oil produced, even though the defendants went into possession in technical bad faith, but in moral good faith.

The cases were referred to a master, who found the primary issues in favor of the government, and made an accounting up to January 1, 1918. At that time, the cost of drilling, equipping, and operating the wells, through and by means of which the oil was extracted, greatly exceeded the value of the oil produced, and, in accordance with the Louisiana rule, no recovery on the accounting was allowed by the master or the trial court, except in a particular not affected by the rule. The decree in each case was for the government and contained the following clause:

'That the defendants be and they are hereby ordered, directed, and required to make a full, true, and accurate accounting to plaintiff of all oil extracted from said land since January 1, 1918, and to pay to plaintiff the value thereof, as ascertained by said accounting, together with all rents and royalties derived therefrom, and that all of plaintiff's rights to recover the oil produced from said land by the defendants since January 1, 1918, be reserved.'

Following the decision of this court, a stipulation was submitted to the trial court, by which it was agreed that a

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decree should be entered against each of the defendants for a stated sum, if 'the court should hold that plaintiff is entitled to recover the net value of the oil produced after January 1, 1918.' It was further stipulated that the total value of all the oil produced from the beginning of operations until the abandonment of the wells was less in each case than the cost of production; that is to say, that the entire operations of each defendant in the production of oil were conducted at a loss, the profit after January 1, 1918, not being sufficient to offset the loss incurred in the production of oil prior to January 1, 1918. Upon the strength of the latter stipulation the trial court held that the government was not entitled to recover anything. The Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the trial court, holding that defendants were not entitled to offset any part of the cost of production prior to January 1, 1918, against the value of the oil produced after that date. United States v. Norvell (C. C. A.) 298 F. 281.

The government first contends that the decrees are not final, and that the appeals should be dismissed, because the Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the cases 'for further proceedings not inconsistent with the opinion of this court.' The general rule established by many decisions, of which Haseltine v. Cent. Bk. of Springfield (No. 1), 183 U. S. 130, 22 S. Ct. 49, 46 L. Ed. 117, is an example, is that the face of the judgment is the test of its finality, and that by this test a judgment of reversal, remanding the cause for further proceedings in conformity with the opinion of the court, ordinarily is not final. But the direction to proceed consistently with the opinion of the court has the effect of making the opinion a part of the mandate, as though it had been therein set out at length. Metropolitan Water Co. v. Kaw Valley District, 223 U. S. 519, 523, 32 S. Ct. 246, 56 L. Ed. 533. Under the stipulations above recited, the trial court was bound to enter decrees for the government for the stated sums of money if that court found that the government

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was entitled to recover the net value of the oil produced. The trial court found that the government was not so entitled and the decrees went accordingly. Turning to the opinion, it will be...

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55 practice notes
  • De Rodulfa v. United States, No. 22947
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • March 24, 1972
    ...19 S.Ct. at 142, 43 L.Ed. 382. 63 Id. at 123-124, 19 S.Ct. at 142. 64 See text infra at notes 93-97. 65 Gulf Ref. Co. v. United States, 269 U.S. 125, 137, 46 S.Ct. 52, 54, 70 L.Ed. 195 (1925). 66 Mackenzie v. A. Engelhard & Sons Co., 266 U.S. 131, 142, 45 S.Ct. 68, 69, 69 L.Ed. 205 (1924). ......
  • Parks v. Pavkovic, Nos. 83-2391
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • February 13, 1985
    ...Co. v. Van Gemert, 444 U.S. 472, 479 and n. 5, 100 S.Ct. 745, 749 and n. 5, 62 L.Ed.2d 676 (1980); Gulf Refining Co. v. United States, 269 U.S. 125, 136, 46 S.Ct. 52, 53, 70 L.Ed. 195 (1925); Bittner v. Sadoff & Rudoy Industries, 728 F.2d 820, 826 (7th Cir.1984); Freeman United Coal Mining ......
  • United States v. 243.22 Acres of Land, No. 349.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • June 26, 1942
    ...except on rehearing or by bill of review in the Circuit Court, or through appeal in this court." Cf. Gulf Refining Co. v. United States, 269 U.S. 125, 136, 46 S.Ct. 52, 70 L.Ed. 195; Lewisburg Bank v. Sheffey, 140 U.S. 445, 452, 11 S.Ct. 755, 35 L.Ed. 493; Winthrop Iron Co. v. Meeker, 109 U......
  • Black White Taxicab Transfer Co v. Brown Yellow Taxicab Transfer Co 13 16, 1928, No. 174
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 9, 1928
    ...their private opinions might be. Mason v. U. S., 260 U. S. 545, 555, 43 S. Ct. 200, 67 L. Ed. 396; Gulf Refining Co. v. United States, 269 U. S. 125, 137, 46 S. Ct. 52, 70 L. Ed. 195. I see no reason why it should have less effect when it speaks by its other voice. See Benedict v. Ratner, 2......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
55 cases
  • De Rodulfa v. United States, No. 22947
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • March 24, 1972
    ...19 S.Ct. at 142, 43 L.Ed. 382. 63 Id. at 123-124, 19 S.Ct. at 142. 64 See text infra at notes 93-97. 65 Gulf Ref. Co. v. United States, 269 U.S. 125, 137, 46 S.Ct. 52, 54, 70 L.Ed. 195 (1925). 66 Mackenzie v. A. Engelhard & Sons Co., 266 U.S. 131, 142, 45 S.Ct. 68, 69, 69 L.Ed. 205 (1924). ......
  • Parks v. Pavkovic, Nos. 83-2391
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • February 13, 1985
    ...Co. v. Van Gemert, 444 U.S. 472, 479 and n. 5, 100 S.Ct. 745, 749 and n. 5, 62 L.Ed.2d 676 (1980); Gulf Refining Co. v. United States, 269 U.S. 125, 136, 46 S.Ct. 52, 53, 70 L.Ed. 195 (1925); Bittner v. Sadoff & Rudoy Industries, 728 F.2d 820, 826 (7th Cir.1984); Freeman United Coal Mining ......
  • United States v. 243.22 Acres of Land, No. 349.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • June 26, 1942
    ...except on rehearing or by bill of review in the Circuit Court, or through appeal in this court." Cf. Gulf Refining Co. v. United States, 269 U.S. 125, 136, 46 S.Ct. 52, 70 L.Ed. 195; Lewisburg Bank v. Sheffey, 140 U.S. 445, 452, 11 S.Ct. 755, 35 L.Ed. 493; Winthrop Iron Co. v. Meeker, 109 U......
  • Black White Taxicab Transfer Co v. Brown Yellow Taxicab Transfer Co 13 16, 1928, No. 174
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 9, 1928
    ...their private opinions might be. Mason v. U. S., 260 U. S. 545, 555, 43 S. Ct. 200, 67 L. Ed. 396; Gulf Refining Co. v. United States, 269 U. S. 125, 137, 46 S. Ct. 52, 70 L. Ed. 195. I see no reason why it should have less effect when it speaks by its other voice. See Benedict v. Ratner, 2......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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