Sun Oil Co. v. Humble Oil & Refining Co.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
Citation88 F. Supp. 658
Docket NumberCiv. No. 614.
Decision Date25 January 1950

88 F. Supp. 658


Civ. No. 614.

United States District Court S. D. Texas, Corpus Christi Division.

January 25, 1950.

J. W. Timmins, Martin A. Row, Dallas, Texas, Sam G. Croom, Houston, Texas, Turner, Rodgers, Winn, Scurlock & Terry, Dallas, Texas, for plaintiffs.

Price Daniel, Attorney General of Texas, Ben H. Rice, Ill., and Russell Surles, Assistant Attorneys General, for intervenor.

R. E. Seagler, Chas. E. Shaver, Nelson Jones, Houston, Texas, for defendant, Humble Oil & Refining Co.

88 F. Supp. 659

Jacob S. Floyd, Alice, Texas, Boone, Davis & Cox, Corpus Christi, Texas, for defendants, Kenedy and East.

ALLRED, District Judge.

Plaintiff, a New Jersey corporation, filed this action February 24, 1949, against defendants, citizens of Texas, to recover the Oil and Gas Leasehold on certain lands, alleged to be in the "Laguna Madre," in this Division, between Padre Island on the East and the Mainland of Texas on the West.

Plaintiff alleged that, pursuant to certain acts of the Texas Legislature, the Commissioner of the General Land Office and the State School Land Board advertised for bids on the lands in controversy, among others; that plaintiff was the successful bidder and secured Oil and Gas leases from the State of Texas on such lands; and that, at the same time, defendant, Humble Oil & Refining Company, acquired similar Oil and Gas leases from the State covering other lands in the "Laguna Madre," generally West and South of the lands in controversy, and between such lands and the Mainland of Texas.

Plaintiff further alleged that defendants have written the Land Commissioner, and other State officials, claiming title to the lands to be in the defendants Kenedy and East, under original grants on the Mainland to the West of the area in controversy, and claiming that Humble has title to the Oil and Gas Leasehold Estate under leases from the predecessors in title of defendants, Kenedy and East; that such letters are on file in the records of the General Land Office and constitute a cloud upon plaintiff's title. The prayer was for judgment removing such cloud and enjoining defendants generally from interfering with plaintiff.

Defendants answered claiming the areas in controversy as accreted to the lands owned by them upon the Mainland. Amended pleadings were filed, pre-trial hearing held, requests for admissions filed and replies made in 1949; and, at such time, the case was set for trial, on the merits, for January 9, 1950.

On January 4, 1950, the State of Texas, through its Attorney General, filed a motion for leave to intervene, accompanied by the proposed petition and a brief setting up the grounds for the proposed intervention. Notice was given and the hearing upon such motion was held on January 9, 1950. Leave to intervene was granted by the Court on January 10th, over objections of the defendants who insist that, since jurisdiction is based upon diversity of citizenship, such jurisdiction is ousted by the intervention.

The State's petition in intervention alleges title to the premises, subject to the various Oil and Gas leases of plaintiff, under which the State reserved a 1/8 th royalty and is to receive annual rentals of $15,745 per year. In other respects, the State's petition is substantially the same as plaintiff's amended complaint. The State asks for judgment removing the cloud from its title and an injunction restraining the defendants from further clouding such title or from threatening or interfering with the State's officers, agents, or lessees, or "from interfering with the rights of the people of Texas, including the right of use by the public as regulated by law."

Defendants have requested the Court to reconsider the Order granting the State's motion to intervene and earnestly challenge the jurisdiction of the Court, contending that, upon intervention in diversity cases, the Court will re-align the parties, and, if there is not complete diversity between all plaintiffs and all defendants, jurisdiction is ousted;1 this question of jurisdiction is important and fundamental, a question the Court should consider of its own Motion, more especially in a case promising to run, as this one, for several weeks.

It is undisputed that the State is not an indispensable party, Colquitt v. Roxana Petroleum Co., D.C.Tex., 34 F.2d 470, affirmed with approval, Roxana Petroleum

88 F. Supp. 660
Co. v. Colquitt, 49 F.2d 1025; Tyler v. Stanolind, 5 Cir., 77 F.2d 802

Intervenor says the Court has the power to permit the intervention under Rule 24(b) (2), of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 28 U.S.C.A. particularly as it was amended in 1946, effective March 1948. The Rule reads as follows: "(b) Permissive Intervention. Upon timely application anyone may be permitted to intervene in an action; (1) * * *; or (2) when an applicant's claim or defense and the main action have a question of law or fact in common. When a party to an action relies for ground of claim or defense upon any statute or executive order administered by a federal or state governmental officer or agency or upon any regulation, order, requirement or agreement issued or made pursuant to the statute or executive order, the officer or agency upon timely application may be permitted to intervene in the action. In exercising its discretion the court shall consider whether the intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the original parties." (Italics supplied, being the language added by the Amendment).

So far as I have been able to find, there are no decisions construing the Rule, as amended.

A Comment on the amendment appears in the 1950 Supplementary pamphlet of 28 U.S.C.A.,2 which has been summarized in Moore's Fed. Rules, 1949, p. 1102, as follows: "This addition clearly permits the intervention of governmental officers or agencies in proper cases and thus avoids exclusionary constructions of the rule, 24.01 infra."

After careful study of the amendment, I am convinced that the State of Texas falls within its terms; and that I have the discretion to permit the intervention without ouster of jurisdiction.

Plaintiff's claim is grounded upon Texas statutes, imposing the duty upon the Commissioner of the General Land Office and the State School Land Board (composed of the Governor, the Attorney General and the Land Commissioner) to advertise for bids for Oil and Gas leases upon state lands, including the lands involved in this suit, and authorizing...

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2 cases
  • Kenedy Memorial Foundation v. Dewhurst, 99-0667.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • August 29, 2002
    ...289 S.W.2d at 367. 47. Luttes, 159 Tex. 500, 324 S.W.2d at 173. 48. Id. at 192. 49. Id. 50. Sun Oil Co. v. Humble Oil & Refining Co., 88 F.Supp. 658 (S.D.Tex.1950), modified and aff'd sub nom. Humble Oil & Refining Co. v. Sun. Oil Co., 190 F.2d 191 (5th Cir.), reh'g denied, 191 F.2d 705 (19......
  • Humble Oil & Refining Co. v. Sun Oil Company, 13312.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • June 20, 1951
    ...34, Fed. Rules Civ. Proc. 28 U.S.C.A., provided an adequate remedy. For the opinion below on the motion of the state to intervene, see 88 F.Supp. 658. It was admitted by plaintiffs below that the land in controversy, at the time of suit, was above sea level and above mean high tide, and tha......

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