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Burford v. Sun Oil Co.

319 U.S. 315 (1943)

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Burford v. Sun Oil Co.

United States Supreme Court

319 U.S. 315 (1943)

Facts

Texas had a specialized scheme of regulation for the oil-drilling industry. A large portion of the law dealt with the location and spacing of oil wells in the state. The Texas Railroad Commission (TRC) was one of the agencies responsible for handling regulations. To avoid confusion and conflicts between different courts, Texas law mandated that all appeals from the TRC be heard by the Travis County court system. The TRC granted G. E. Burford (defendant) a permit to drill four wells on a plot of land. This represented an exception to the laws of the state. Sun Oil Company (plaintiff) opposed the permit and sued in Travis County state court. Sun Oil also petitioned a federal district court in Texas, under diversity jurisdiction, to issue an injunction against the construction of the wells. The federal district court dismissed the complaint. The court of appeals reversed. Burford appealed to the Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Black, J.)

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