Pattie v. Oil & Gas Conservation Commission
Montana Supreme Court
402 P.2d 596 (Mont. 1965)
Pattie and others (plaintiffs) were oil and gas lessees on land on the edge of a petroleum reservoir. The Sumatra Oil Corporation (Sumatra) was a lessee on an adjacent tract of land. Montana Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (Commission) (defendant) rules required an oil well to be located no closer than 330 feet from a property boundary line. Gas wells were required to be further apart: no closer than 1320 feet from a property boundary line. Sumatra, intending to drill for oil, drilled a well 330 feet from its property boundary with the plaintiffs. However, rather than striking oil, the company struck natural gas. As such, its well was closer to the plaintiffs’ property line than the Commission rules allowed. Sumatra applied to the Commission for an exception to the rule. The plaintiffs also applied for an exception, hoping to drill a gas well 330 feet from the boundary line on the other side of the line. Commission rules provided that an exception be granted where enforcing the spacing rule “would be inequitable or unreasonable.” The Commission granted Sumatra an exception for its gas well, but denied the plaintiffs an exception to build their own well. The plaintiffs brought suit against the Commission based on the denial, arguing that the denial prevented them from being able to protect themselves from having gas drained from their land. The trial court granted the plaintiffs summary judgment and ordered the Commission to reconsider the plaintiffs’ application. The Commission appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Harrison, C.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 726,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead 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.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 726,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 45,700 briefs, keyed to 983 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.