Logourl black
From our private database of 13,800+ case briefs...

Pennzoil Company v. Texaco, Inc.

United States Supreme Court
481 U.S. 1 (1987)


Facts

Despite an agreement between Pennzoil Company (Pennzoil) (defendant) and Getty Oil (Getty) for Pennzoil to purchase 40 percent of Getty’s shares, Getty sold the shares to Texaco, Inc. (Texaco) (plaintiff). Pennzoil, which was headquartered in Texas, sued Texaco, which was headquartered in New York, in a Texas state court, claiming that Texaco tortiously induced Getty to break its contract with Pennzoil. A jury found in Pennzoil’s favor, and the court entered a judgment of more than $11 billion. The day before entry of the judgment, Texaco sued Pennzoil in a federal district court in New York pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, contending that the Texas judgment procedure violated its constitutional rights. Under Texas law, Texaco could suspend the judgment’s execution by filing a supersedeas bond for $13 billion, but filing the bond would not prevent Pennzoil from obtaining liens on Texaco’s property. Without enough funds to post bond, Texaco’s stock dropped significantly, its ability to obtain credit weakened, and its bond rating fell. The district court issued a preliminary injunction preventing Pennzoil from enforcing the judgment, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed. Pennzoil sought review in the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Concurrence (Stevens, J.)

The concurrence section is for members only and includes a summary of the concurring judge or justice’s opinion. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Concurrence (Blackmun, J.)

The concurrence section is for members only and includes a summary of the concurring judge or justice’s opinion. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Concurrence (Marshall, J.)

The concurrence section is for members only and includes a summary of the concurring judge or justice’s opinion. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Concurrence (Brennan, J.)

The concurrence section is for members only and includes a summary of the concurring judge or justice’s opinion. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Concurrence (Scalia, J.)

The concurrence section is for members only and includes a summary of the concurring judge or justice’s opinion. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

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 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.

  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 166,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 13,800 briefs, keyed to 187 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.