United States v. LITTLE LAKE MISERE LAND COMPANY, 71-2425 Summary Calendar.

Decision Date30 December 1971
Docket NumberNo. 71-2425 Summary Calendar.,71-2425 Summary Calendar.
Citation453 F.2d 360
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. LITTLE LAKE MISERE LAND COMPANY, Inc., et al., Defendants-Appellees.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit

Donald E. Walter, U.S. Atty., D. H. Perkins, Jr., Asst. U.S. Atty., Shreveport, La., Shiro Kashiwa, Asst. Atty. Gen., Edmund B. Clark, Atty., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., Gerald J. Gallinghouse, U.S. Atty., New Orleans, La., Howard O. Sigmond, Peter R. Steenland, Attys., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., for plaintiff-appellant.

Richard E. Gerard, Lake Charles, La., Austin W. Lewis, Roger H. Doyle, Gene W. LaFitte, Liskow & Lewis, New Orleans, La, for defendants-appellees.

Before BELL, AINSWORTH and GODBOLD, Circuit Judges.


The United States filed suit to quiet title to various properties owned by the United States subject to mineral reservations in favor of the various parties defendant. Title to the properties was acquired by the United States in one instance by purchase on July 23, 1937, and in the other instance by judgment in condemnation proceedings on August 30, 1939. Both acquisitions were for the purpose of creating a part of the Lacassine Wildlife Refuge, a bird sanctuary in Cameron Parish, pursuant to the Migratory Bird Treaty, 16 U.S.C. § 703, and the Migratory Bird Conservation Act, 16 U.S.C. § 715 et seq. In each case the United States reserved to the landowners from whom the properties were acquired, certain mineral interests for a term of 10 years and as long thereafter as production or drilling continued. The pertinent reservation contained in the written act of sale is set out in the margin.1 The mineral reservation contained in the judgment of condemnation is substantially the same as that contained in the act of sale. It was stipulated that there had been no drilling on the properties within 10 years from the date of creation of the mineral reservations. The only issue is whether the reservations created imprescriptible mineral servitudes within the meaning of Act 315 of 1940 of the Louisiana Legislature, La. R.S. 9:5806(A), or whether they were extinguished by 10 years of nonuser.2

The District Court held that "clearly, the provisions of the reservations in the instant cases reveal that the parties were stipulating for a period of contractual prescription for the conditional extinguishment of the mineral servitudes." Thus, under Act 315 the mineral reservations were imprescriptible. The District Court considered himself bound by our former opinion in the case of Leiter Minerals, Inc. v. United States, 5 Cir., 1964, 329 F.2d 85, vacated as moot, sub nom., United States v. Leiter Minerals Inc., 381 U.S. 413, 85 S.Ct. 1575, 14 L.Ed.2d 692 (1965). The United States argues that Leiter is of no precedential value because of the Supreme Court's dismissal as moot. The Government argues that Leiter was incorrectly decided by us and should now be reversed. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the lower court on the basis of the principles enunciated by Judge Rives for the Court in Leiter.

Finally, the Government contends that if Act 315 is interpreted so as to "extend" the grantors' or condemnees' servitude in the minerals, it would be unconstitutional as impairing the obligations of contract; as derogating the supreme power of the Federal Government to acquire a precise estate by condemnation or purchase; and as hostile and discriminatory against the United States in the acquisition of an interest in land. The first and second points have been rejected by us in United States v. Nebo Oil Co., 5 Cir., 1951, 190 F.2d 1003. The principles enunciated in Nebo were reaffirmed by Judge Rives in Leiter, 329 F.2d at 94. As to the contention that Louisiana's Act 315 is hostile to the United States, we note that the same principle applies to acquisitions by the State of Louisiana, La. R.S. 9:5806(B), and that the act really does nothing more than place citizens of Louisiana in the same position as citizens of other states whose land has been...

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5 cases
  • United States v. Little Lake Misere Land Company, Inc 8212 1459
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • June 18, 1973
    ...'common law' rule; neither rule is the law of Louisiana, yet either rule resolves this dispute in the Government's favor. Pp. 603—604. 453 F.2d 360, reversed and William Bradford Reynolds, Washington, D.C., for petitioner. Austin W. Lewis, New Orleans, La., for respondents. Mr. Chief Justic......
  • Petro-Hunt, L.L.C. v. U.S.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • March 31, 2004
    ...general laws."). 26. 412 U.S. at 582, 93 S.Ct. 2389. 27. Id. 28. Id. at 583, 93 S.Ct. 2389. 29. See United States v. Little Lake Misere Land Co., 453 F.2d 360 (5th Cir.1971). 30. Id. at 362. 31. See United States v. Little Lake Misere Land Co., 412 U.S. 580, 93 S.Ct. 2389 (1973). 32. 318 U.......
  • Central Pines Land Co. v. U.S.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • November 28, 2001
    ...opinion as moot. United States v. Leiter Minerals, Inc., 381 U.S. 413 (1965). We reaffirmed the holding of Leiter Minerals II in Little Lake, 453 F.2d at 362, which, of course, was subsequently reversed by the Supreme Court on Clearfield Trust grounds. Little Lake, 412 U.S. at 590-91 n.8. 3......
  • Tate v. Henderson
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • March 19, 1973
    ... ... J. D. HENDERSON, Warden, United States Penitentiary, Atlanta, Georgia, -Appellee ... No. 72-2285. Summary Calendar.* ... United States Court of Appeals, ... v. Citizens Casualty Company ... ...
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