Logourl black
From our private database of 14,100+ case briefs...

Pickens v. Railroad Commission

Supreme Court of Texas
387 S.W.2d 35 (Tex. 1965)


Facts

The Texas Railroad Commission (Commission) (defendant) issued an order that prorated the amount of oil that could be produced in a field as follows: “one  half of the oil is allocated to the wells in that proportion which their assigned surface acreage in the oil field . . . bears to the total acreage in the field . . . and the other half is distributed among the same wells in that proportion which their [acre-feet] bears to the total acre-feet in the field.” In other words, for each well, the Commission order evenly split the amount of oil that could be produced between (1) a well’s surface acreage and (2) a well’s acre-feet (i.e., the volume of vertical productive subsurface), both in proportion to the field’s overall surface acreage and acre-feet, respectively. W.L. Pickens and other well owners in the field (plaintiffs) brought suit, arguing that the Commission’s order failed to properly account for the plaintiffs’ correlative rights. Specifically, the plaintiffs contended that the order improperly discriminated against well owners that owned more acre-feet of productive subsurface. The plaintiffs preferred an allocation that was completely based on a well’s acre-feet. The plaintiffs’ witness testified that the plaintiffs would suffer uncompensated drainage under the Commission’s formula. However, the Commission’s witness testified that net drainage would actually be toward the plaintiffs’ wells due to surrounding water entering the field. This witness testified that when oil was drained from the field, water would enter the field and rise to the thinner, outer parts of the field, thus replacing the oil under those wells and reducing the amounts of oil that those wells can produce. The trial court upheld the Commission’s order. The plaintiffs appealed.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Holding and Reasoning (Greenhill, 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, please start your free trial or log in.

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 222,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,100 briefs, keyed to 189 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.