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Sun Oil Company v. Wortman

486 U.S. 717 (1988)

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Sun Oil Company v. Wortman

United States Supreme Court

486 U.S. 717 (1988)

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Facts

Sun Oil Company (Sun) (defendant) was an oil and gas producer incorporated in Delaware and with its principal place of business in Texas. Sun paid royalties to Richard Wortman and other land owners in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana (plaintiffs). In those states, Sun leased land from the land owners and extracted natural gas. Sun paid suspended royalty payments to the land owners but didn't pay interest on those amounts. The land owners filed a class-action suit in Kansas state court to recover interest. Sun argued that the land owners’ case was barred by the statutes of limitations in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. Sun further argued that application of Kansas law violated the Due Process Clause and the Full Faith and Credit Clause to the United States Constitution. The land owners argued that Kansas’s five-year statute of limitations applied. The Kansas courts agreed with the land owners and applied Kansas’s longer statute of limitations. Sun appealed, and the Supreme Court of Kansas affirmed the trial court’s decision. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Scalia, J.)

Concurrence (Brennan, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (O’Connor, J.)

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