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Higgins Oil and Fuel Co. v. Guaranty Oil Co.

82 So. 206 (1919)

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Higgins Oil and Fuel Co. v. Guaranty Oil Co.

Louisiana Supreme Court

82 So. 206 (1919)

Facts

Higgins Oil and Fuel Company (Higgins) (plaintiff) and Guaranty Oil Company (Guaranty) (defendant) held oil leases on adjoining tracts of land. Higgins sunk a well on the tract that it leased, and the well produced a steady flow of oil. Guaranty sunk a well on the tract that it leased, approximately 400 feet from Higgins’s well. Guaranty’s well failed to produce any oil. Guaranty abandoned the well but did not close it back up. Through Guaranty’s open but abandoned well, air was introduced through the ground toward Higgins’s well, which greatly reduced the suction power of the pump on Higgins’s well and therefore reduced that well’s production. Guaranty refused to close its abandoned well, although it could have been easily closed with little expense to Guaranty. Higgins sued Guaranty, seeking to force Guaranty to close its abandoned well and to recover damages for the reduced flow it had suffered to its well. Higgins alleged that Guaranty was refusing to cover the well in an effort to prevent Higgins from drawing oil from the land. The lower court sustained Guaranty’s motion for no cause of action, and Higgins appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Provosty, J.)

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