Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 19,800+ case briefs...

McSweyn v. Musselshell County, Montana

Montana Supreme Court
632 P.2d 1095 (Mont. 1981)


Musselshell County (the County) (defendant) sold property to A.D. Shields, but reserved a mineral interest in “an undivided two and one-half percent of all oil, gas and other mineral lying in, under and beneath the premises hereinbefore described.” The County sent Shields a deed for the property, which stated that reserved for the County was “an undivided two and one-half percent royalty of all oil, gas, and other minerals lying in, and that may be produced from the premises hereinbefore described, delivered free of cost.” The County leased its reserved interests to McSweyn (plaintiff). The McSweyn lease was only valid if the interest leased was a mineral interest and not a royalty interest. However, the lease also contained the following provision: “The execution of this instrument shall in no way prejudice the right of Musselshell County to claim its interest is a royalty interest rather than a mineral interest.” McSweyn filed suit seeking a declaratory judgment regarding his interests under the lease. The District Court for the Fourteenth Judicial District in Musselshell County, without being presented the issue, found that a mineral interest is more valuable than a royalty interest. The district court thus found that because the County initially reserved a mineral interest in its sale to Shields, but then reserved only a royalty interest in its deed to Shields, the deed was an unconstitutional gift as it deeded a more than Shields bargained for. The district court held that McSweyn’s lease was for a mineral interest and thus was valid. The County appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Weber, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 507,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 507,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 19,800 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial