Southern Ute Indian Tribe v. Amoco Production Co., Civ. A. No. 91-B-2273.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Colorado
Writing for the CourtLon W. Abadie, Thomas P. Dugan, Dugan & Associates, Durango, CO, for J.M. Huber Corp
Citation874 F. Supp. 1142
PartiesSOUTHERN UTE INDIAN TRIBE, Plaintiff, v. AMOCO PRODUCTION COMPANY; Shirley K. Adams; Henry Ashworth; Carla M. Aspaas; Eric K. Aspaas; Helen Ruth Aspaas; Laura Belle Aspaas; Leta M. Adkins; Rita M. Adkins; Maxwell C. Anderson; Earl A. Barker; Heirs of Maurice C. Breen, Deceased; Horace F. Buchanan; The Heirs of Horace Buchanan, Deceased; George A. Bugg; Carbone Investment Company; Jack Carmack; Rowland Carmack; Joseph C. Ciancio; William Kemp Clark; Colorado National Bank of Denver as Trustee of the George Veto Trust; The Colorado National Bank of Longmont as Conservator of the Estate of Gladys N. Frazzini, Deceased; Dorothy A. Corgin; the Heirs of Kelly Cox, Deceased; A.B. Crosby; Barbara Crosby; David Crosby; John Crow, Jr.; Margaret Crow; Manuel Cruz; Louis M. Cummins; Frederick E. Dickerson; J.M. Eakes; Robert McFerran Eakes; Margaret Ellison; Sally M. Etterbeck; Minnie Flaks; Tillie Flaks; Cassio Frazzini; Adele Frost; Robert Galbasin; Abel S. Gallegos; Montey Garnand; Ruby Gibbs Goggans; Christine Hamilton; Hardin Simmons University; The Heirs of H.A. Harmon, Deceased; Katherine Frances McElvain Harvey; The Shareholders of Hondo Oil & Gas Corporation; Charles Kettering; Fidel Lucero; Richard C. Malcomb; Suzanne Heath Manges; Katherine B. McElvain; Mabel McElvain; Thornton H. McElvain, Jr.; Dorothy N. McKelvey; Edwin L. McKelvey; R. Franklin McKelvey; W.R. McMahon McMurry Oil Company; W. Clay Meredith Charitable Trust; The Heirs of W.A. Moncrief, Deceased; Roy E. Montgomery, Personal Representative for the Estate of W. Clay Meredith, Deceased; The Heirs of Forrest D. Miller, Deceased; The Heirs of Helen L. Miller, Deceased; Thomas S. Morrissey; Thomas J. Morrissey; Emil Mosbacher; Emil Mosbacher, III; John David Mosbacher; R. Bruce Mosbacher; Myra Theresa Moulds; North Central Oil Corporation; H.L. Oliver; Clara Onofrio; Margaret C. Pargin; Harold F. Payne, Jr; Neville G. Penrose; Ben M. Peterson, Jr.; Frederick Petrocco; Phillips Petroleum Company; James M. Raymond; The Heirs of W.E. Rennie, Deceased; Thomas C. Romolo; Benton E. Smullyen; Clinton I. Smullyen; William Stirling; The Heirs of J.L. Tatum, Deceased; Anna Carleo Tomeo; Ernest Tomeo; Turner Securities; Richard W. Turner, Sr.; The Heirs of George C. Vance, Deceased; Anthony H. Veto; Joseph F. Ware, Jr.; Albert E. Zarlengo; Anthony F. Zarlengo; John Doe and All Other Unknown Persons Claiming an Interest in the Mineral Estate Located Within the N/2 of Section 12, T33N, R8W, N.M.P.M., La Plata County, Colorado; Amax Oil & Gas, Inc.; Bowen/Edwards Associates, Inc.; Conoco, Inc.; Fuel Resources Development Company; J.M. Huber Corporation, Oil and Gas Division; Markwest Energy Partners Limited; McKenzie Methane Corporation; Meridian Oil, Inc.; Mobil Oil Corporation; National Cooperative Refinery Association; Northwest Pipeline Corporation; Pablo Operating Company; Palo Petroleum, Inc.; Palo/Eagle Joint Ventures; Richmond Petroleum, Inc.; Tiffany Gas Company; Williams Production Company; Union Texas Petroleum Corporation; John Doe Oil Company and All Other Unknown Persons or Entities Claiming Leasehold Working Interests or Operating Rights to Explore for, Produce or Develop Coalbed Methane or Coal Constituents from Coal or Coal Strata Reserved by the United States in Patents Issued Under the Act of March 3, 1909, or the Act of June 22, 1910, for Lands Located Within the Exterior Boundaries of the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, and Which Entities have not Obtained Tribal Consent to and Federal Approval of Said Exploration, Production or Development Activities; Manuel Lujan, Jr., Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior; The United States Department of the Interior and its Subordinate Agencies; The Bureau of Indian Affairs; The Bureau of Land Management; The Minerals Management Service; Eddie F. Brown, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; Delos Cy Jamison, Director of the Bureau of Land Management; Scott S. Sewell, Director of the Minerals Management Service; Class of Defendants Situated Similarly to those Named Non-Governmental Defendants Who Claim Ownership of an Interest in Coalbed Methane and Other Coal Constituents or Claim the Right to Explore for, Develop or Produce Those Substances from Coal or Coal Strata Reserved by the United States in Patents Issued Under the Act of March 3, 1909, or the Act of June 22, 1910, for Lands Located Within the Exterior Boundaries of the Southern UTE Indian Reservation and which Class Members have not Obtained Tribal Consent to and Federal Approval of Said Interests or Rights, Defendants.
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 91-B-2273.
Decision Date13 September 1994

874 F. Supp. 1142

SOUTHERN UTE INDIAN TRIBE, Plaintiff,
v.
AMOCO PRODUCTION COMPANY; Shirley K. Adams; Henry Ashworth; Carla M. Aspaas; Eric K. Aspaas; Helen Ruth Aspaas; Laura Belle Aspaas; Leta M. Adkins; Rita M. Adkins; Maxwell C. Anderson; Earl A. Barker; Heirs of Maurice C. Breen, Deceased; Horace F. Buchanan; The Heirs of Horace Buchanan, Deceased; George A. Bugg; Carbone Investment Company; Jack Carmack; Rowland Carmack; Joseph C. Ciancio; William Kemp Clark; Colorado National Bank of Denver as Trustee of the George Veto Trust; The Colorado National Bank of Longmont as Conservator of the Estate of Gladys N. Frazzini, Deceased; Dorothy A. Corgin; the Heirs of Kelly Cox, Deceased; A.B. Crosby; Barbara Crosby; David Crosby; John Crow, Jr.; Margaret Crow; Manuel Cruz; Louis M. Cummins; Frederick E. Dickerson; J.M. Eakes; Robert McFerran Eakes; Margaret Ellison; Sally M. Etterbeck; Minnie Flaks; Tillie Flaks; Cassio Frazzini; Adele Frost; Robert Galbasin; Abel S. Gallegos; Montey Garnand; Ruby Gibbs Goggans; Christine Hamilton; Hardin Simmons University; The Heirs of H.A. Harmon, Deceased; Katherine Frances McElvain Harvey; The Shareholders of Hondo Oil & Gas Corporation; Charles Kettering; Fidel Lucero; Richard C. Malcomb; Suzanne Heath Manges; Katherine B. McElvain; Mabel McElvain; Thornton H. McElvain, Jr.; Dorothy N. McKelvey; Edwin L. McKelvey; R. Franklin McKelvey; W.R. McMahon McMurry Oil Company; W. Clay Meredith Charitable Trust; The Heirs of W.A. Moncrief, Deceased; Roy E. Montgomery, Personal Representative for the Estate of W. Clay Meredith, Deceased; The Heirs of Forrest D. Miller, Deceased; The Heirs of Helen L. Miller, Deceased; Thomas S. Morrissey; Thomas J. Morrissey; Emil Mosbacher; Emil Mosbacher, III; John David Mosbacher; R. Bruce Mosbacher; Myra Theresa Moulds; North Central Oil Corporation; H.L. Oliver; Clara Onofrio; Margaret C. Pargin; Harold F. Payne, Jr; Neville G. Penrose; Ben M. Peterson, Jr.; Frederick Petrocco; Phillips Petroleum Company; James M. Raymond; The Heirs of W.E. Rennie, Deceased; Thomas C. Romolo; Benton E. Smullyen; Clinton I. Smullyen; William Stirling; The Heirs of J.L. Tatum, Deceased; Anna Carleo Tomeo; Ernest Tomeo; Turner Securities; Richard W. Turner, Sr.; The Heirs of George C. Vance, Deceased; Anthony H. Veto; Joseph F. Ware, Jr.; Albert E. Zarlengo; Anthony F. Zarlengo; John Doe and All Other Unknown Persons Claiming an Interest in the Mineral Estate Located Within the N/2 of Section 12, T33N, R8W, N.M.P.M., La Plata County, Colorado; Amax Oil & Gas, Inc.; Bowen/Edwards Associates, Inc.; Conoco, Inc.; Fuel Resources Development Company; J.M. Huber Corporation, Oil and Gas Division; Markwest Energy Partners Limited; McKenzie Methane Corporation; Meridian Oil, Inc.; Mobil Oil Corporation; National Cooperative Refinery Association; Northwest Pipeline Corporation; Pablo Operating Company; Palo Petroleum, Inc.; Palo/Eagle Joint Ventures; Richmond Petroleum, Inc.; Tiffany Gas

[874 F. Supp. 1143]

Company; Williams Production Company; Union Texas Petroleum Corporation; John Doe Oil Company and All Other Unknown Persons or Entities Claiming Leasehold Working Interests or Operating Rights to Explore for, Produce or Develop Coalbed Methane or Coal Constituents from Coal or Coal Strata Reserved by the United States in Patents Issued Under the Act of March 3, 1909, or the Act of June 22, 1910, for Lands Located Within the Exterior Boundaries of the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, and Which Entities have not Obtained Tribal Consent to and Federal Approval of Said Exploration, Production or Development Activities; Manuel Lujan, Jr., Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior; The United States Department of the Interior and its Subordinate Agencies; The Bureau of Indian Affairs; The Bureau of Land Management; The Minerals Management Service; Eddie F. Brown, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; Delos Cy Jamison, Director of the Bureau of Land Management; Scott S. Sewell, Director of the Minerals Management Service; Class of Defendants Situated Similarly to those Named Non-Governmental Defendants Who Claim Ownership of an Interest in Coalbed Methane and Other Coal Constituents or Claim the Right to Explore for, Develop or Produce Those Substances from Coal or Coal Strata Reserved by the United States in Patents Issued Under the Act of March 3, 1909, or the Act of June 22, 1910, for Lands Located Within the Exterior Boundaries of the Southern UTE Indian Reservation and which Class Members have not Obtained Tribal Consent to and Federal Approval of Said Interests or Rights, Defendants

Civ. A. No. 91-B-2273.

United States District Court, D. Colorado.

February 5, 1995.

Nunc Pro Tunc September 13, 1994.


874 F. Supp. 1144
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
874 F. Supp. 1145
Thomas H. Shipps, Frank E. Maynes, Maynes, Bradford, Shipps & Sheftel, Durango, CO, Michael McConnell, Long & Jaudon, P.C., Denver, CO, Scott B. McElroy, Alice E. Walker, Greene, Meyer & McElroy, Boulder, CO, for plaintiff

Robert C. Hawley, Lino S. Lipinsky de Orlov, Hawley & Vanderwerf, P.C., Denver, CO, Russell D. Howell, Houston, TX, for Conoco, Inc.

Lon W. Abadie, Thomas P. Dugan, Dugan & Associates, Durango, CO, for J.M. Huber Corp.

William Godsman, Salmon, Godsman & Nicholson, Englewood, CO, for Hondo O & G & Palo Petro.

Robert L. McCamey, Jr., Richmond Petroleum, Inc., Dallas, TX, for Richmond Petroleum.

Peter A. Bjork, Laura Lindley, Bjork, Seavy, Lindley, & Danielson, P.C., Denver, CO, for North Cent. Oil Corp. & Mobil Oil.

R. Dennis Ickes, Larry L. Whyte, Marilynn Fineshriber, Nielsen & Senior, Salt Lake City, UT, for Mobil Oil Corp.

Charles Carpenter, Frederick Douglas, Denver, CO, for Fuel Resources Develop. & Natl. Co-op Refinery.

Lynn P. Hendrix, Marla J. Williams, Holme Roberts & Owen, Denver, CO, for Amax Oil & Gas.

Dante L. Zarlengo, Denver, CO, for Bowen/Edwards Assoc.

Frank J. Anesi, Durango, CO, for Tiffany Gas.

David C. Little, Kevin J. Kuhn, Montgomery, Little & McGrew, Englewood, CO, Susan L. Heady, Amarillo, TX, for Phillips Petroleum Co.

Anthony F. Zarlengo, Vincent A. Zarlengo, Causey Demgen & Moore, Inc., Denver, CO, pro se.

L.W. McDaniel, McDaniel, McDaniel, Baty and Nicholson, Durango, CO, for Maxwell Anderson & Louis Cummins.

Daniel F. Warden, Faegre & Benson, Denver, CO, Theresa Silcox, Patricia E. Schmid, Northwest Pipeline Corp., Salt Lake City, UT, for Northwest Pipeline Corp. & Williams Prod. Co.

Thomas S. Nichols, Neil Peck, Charles L. Kaiser, Anthony Shaheen, Davis, Graham & Stubbs, David E. Brody, Denver, CO, for Amoco Production Co.

Stan L. Spangler, John L. Lawrence, Shaw, Spangler & Roth, Denver, CO, for Colo. Nat. Bank of Denver, Colo. Nat. Bank of Longmont.

874 F. Supp. 1146

Edwin L. McKelvey, Aurora, CO, Robert A. Galbasin, Denver, CO, for Landowner.

Hugh V. Schaefer, Gorsuch, Kirgis, Campbell, Walker and Grover, Denver, CO, for Tiffany Gas.

Thornton W. Field, Dept. of Justice, Gen. Litigation Section, Washington, DC, William G. Pharo, Asst. U.S. Atty., John R. Kunz, Regional Solicitor's Office, U.S. Dept. of Interior, Denver, CO, for Dept. of the Interior, et al.

T.H. McElvain Oil & Gas Properties, Sante Fe, NM, for Katherine McElvain Harvey, Katherine B. McElvain, Thornton H. McElvain.

William R. Thurston, Durango, CO, for Weaselskin Corp.

James P. Rouse, Burns, Wall, Smith and Mueller, P.C., Roger H. Lichty, Denver, CO, for McKenzie Methane Corp.

Mark J. Thurber, Claudia Wilson Frost, Baker & Botts, Houston, TX, for Palo Petroleum & SG Interests I, Ltd.

Barry W. Spector, Denver, CO, for Markwest Energy Partners.

Robert D. Poulson, Alan B. Cameron, Poulson, Odell & Peterson, Denver, CO, for SG Interests I, Ltd.

Attorney General's Office, Natural Resources Section, Denver, CO, for State of Colo.

AMENDED MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

BABCOCK, District Judge.

The central issue in this case is whether in the Coal Lands Acts of 1909 and 1910 Congress reserved coalbed methane gas (CBM gas) in the United States when, under those acts, it reserved coal. I hold that Congress did not reserve CBM gas in the United States in the Coal Lands Acts of 1909 and 1910 and, consequently, Plaintiff, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe's (the Tribe) claim of equitable ownership to CBM gas in the lands at issue fails. Although this key question and its answer are simply stated, their basis necessarily requires considerable discussion.

The Tribe sued Amoco Production Company (Amoco), other oil companies, and individuals who claim various ownership interests to CBM gas contained in coal strata which previously had been reserved in the federal government under the Coal Lands Acts of 1909 and 1910, seeking declaration of ownership in the CBM gas, injunctive relief and damages based upon various theories including trespass and conversion. The Tribe also sued various federal governmental entities (federal defendants) claiming breach of fiduciary duty to manage the Tribe's trust resources. The federal defendants are Manuel Lujan, Jr., Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior, the Department of the Interior and its subordinate agencies, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Land Management, the Minerals Management Service, Eddie F. Brown, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Delos Cy Jamison, Director of the Bureau of Land Management, and Scott S. Sewell, Director of the Minerals Management Service.

I certified a defendant class pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(2) to determine two issues (1) ownership of the CBM gas and (2) the existence and applicability to the ownership question of several defenses "common" to the non-federal defendant class comprised of all defendants except the federal defendants. Amoco was named as the defendant class representative. See Case Management Order No. 1. The federal defendants argue the Tribe's claim against them is barred by the applicable statute of...

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11 practice notes
  • Southern Ute Indian Tribe v. Amoco Production Co., No. 94-1579
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 20 Julio 1998
    ...district court held that CBM ownership was vested unambiguously in the Amoco defendants. Southern Ute Indian Tribe v. Amoco Prod. Co., 874 F.Supp. 1142, 1160 (D.Colo.1995). Consequently, the court concluded it "need not address further the application of the common defenses to the ownership......
  • Southern Ute Indian Tribe v. Amoco Production Co., No. 94-1579
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 16 Julio 1997
    ...district court held that CBM ownership was vested unambiguously in the Amoco defendants. Southern Ute Indian Tribe v. Amoco Prod. Co., 874 F.Supp. 1142, 1160 (D.Colo.1995). Consequently, the court concluded it "need not address further the application of the common defenses to the ownership......
  • Amaya v. Bregman, No. 14–cv–0599 WJ/SMV
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • 13 Mayo 2016
    ...(accord). A statute's plain meaning accurately expresses legislative purpose. See Southern Ute Indian Tribe v. Amoco Production Co ., 874 F.Supp. 1142 (D.Colo.1995). Defendant also views the issue as one of standing. The case or controversy limitation for federal jurisdiction requires that ......
  • USA. v. Hess, No. 98-1127
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 5 Noviembre 1999
    ...423 F.2d 346, 348-50 (Ct. Cl. 1970), reversed on other grounds, 402 U.S. 159 (1971); Southern Ute Indian Tribe v. Amoco Prod. Co., 874 F. Supp. 1142, 1148 (D. Colo. 1995), reversed on other grounds, 119 F.3d 816 (10th Cir. 2. 39 Stat. 862, ch. 9 (codified at 43 U.S.C. §§ 291-302) (repealed ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
11 cases
  • Southern Ute Indian Tribe v. Amoco Production Co., No. 94-1579
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 16 Julio 1997
    ...district court held that CBM ownership was vested unambiguously in the Amoco defendants. Southern Ute Indian Tribe v. Amoco Prod. Co., 874 F.Supp. 1142, 1160 (D.Colo.1995). Consequently, the court concluded it "need not address further the application of the common defenses to the ownership......
  • Southern Ute Indian Tribe v. Amoco Production Co., No. 94-1579
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 20 Julio 1998
    ...district court held that CBM ownership was vested unambiguously in the Amoco defendants. Southern Ute Indian Tribe v. Amoco Prod. Co., 874 F.Supp. 1142, 1160 (D.Colo.1995). Consequently, the court concluded it "need not address further the application of the common defenses to the ownership......
  • Amaya v. Bregman, No. 14–cv–0599 WJ/SMV
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • 13 Mayo 2016
    ...(accord). A statute's plain meaning accurately expresses legislative purpose. See Southern Ute Indian Tribe v. Amoco Production Co ., 874 F.Supp. 1142 (D.Colo.1995). Defendant also views the issue as one of standing. The case or controversy limitation for federal jurisdiction requires that ......
  • USA. v. Hess, No. 98-1127
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • 5 Noviembre 1999
    ...423 F.2d 346, 348-50 (Ct. Cl. 1970), reversed on other grounds, 402 U.S. 159 (1971); Southern Ute Indian Tribe v. Amoco Prod. Co., 874 F. Supp. 1142, 1148 (D. Colo. 1995), reversed on other grounds, 119 F.3d 816 (10th Cir. 2. 39 Stat. 862, ch. 9 (codified at 43 U.S.C. §§ 291-302) (repealed ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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