Mobil Oil Exploration & Producing Southeast, Inc. v. United States
United States Supreme Court
530 U.S. 604 (2000)
Mobil Oil Exploration and Producing Southeast, Inc. (plaintiffs) paid the United States (defendant) $156 million as an up-front bonus payment in return for 10-year renewable lease contracts allowing the plaintiffs to explore for oil off the coast of North Carolina. The contracts conditioned the plaintiffs’ right to explore for oil on their ability to obtain government permissions consistent with various federal statutes, including the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) and the Coastal Zone Management Act. In October 1992, the plaintiffs brought a breach of contract suit against the United States in the Court of Federal Claims. The Court of Federal Claims found that the Department of the Interior failed to approve plans submitted by the plaintiffs within thirty days, as required by the OCSLA. It further found that the Department of the Interior communicated to the plaintiffs its inability to approve the plan within 13 months. Based on these findings, the Court of Federal Claims found that the United States had repudiated a contractual promise by failing to approve the OCSLA-mandated plan within 30 days. It granted plaintiffs summary judgment and awarded the plaintiffs restitution for the $156 million paid as an up-front bonus. Upon appeal, the Government argued that restitution was improper because the plaintiffs would not have satisfied the consistency requirements of the Coastal Zone Management Act and therefore would have been unable to explore for oil even if the OCSLA-mandated plan was approved on schedule.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Breyer, J.)
What to do next…
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 97,000 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.
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 176,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 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.