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South Central Petroleum, Inc. v. Long Brothers Oil Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
974 F.2d 1015 (8th Cir. 1992)


Facts

Long Brothers Oil Company (Long Brothers) (plaintiff) brought suit against South Central Petroleum, Inc. (SCPI) (defendant) to determine the proper ownership of an oil well. At trial, SCPI called an expert witness who gave an opinion about the proper revenue calculation for determining the amount that was due to Long Brothers for SCPI’s share of the well. The expert witness based his testimony on information that he had received from a commercial production service. The commercial production service had, in turn, received the information from the state government, which had received the information from the operator of the well. There was no dispute that the information forming the basis of the expert’s opinion was hearsay. There was also no dispute that the information was of a type relied upon by experts in the particular field. The district court admitted the expert witness’s opinion testimony, but only the opinion itself and not the underlying information. SCPI moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the motion based on the expert’s revenue calculation. Long Brothers appealed, arguing that the district court abused its discretion by relying on inadmissible hearsay evidence.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Heaney, J.)

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  • 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.).

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