Berenergy Corp. v. BTU Western Resources, Inc.

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The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part the judgment of the district court deciding that a form of the accommodation doctrine governed to resolve the parties' dispute over priority of rights between mineral developers, holding that the BLM was not an indispensable party and that law of the case principles applied. The parties in this case were Berenergy Corporation, which owned rights to both federal and private oil and gas, and Peabody Powder River Mining, LLC, which held federal coal leases. These minerals overlapped. In Berenergy I, the Supreme Court determined that the BLM was a necessary party to the proceedings dealing with competing federal leases and remanded the case. The private oil and gas lease (the Thornburg lease) was not appealed or decided in Berenergy I. On remand, the district court concluded that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction as to the lands underlying the Thornburg lease without the presence of the BLM. The court then applied the law of the case in deciding that a form of the accommodation doctrine governed to resolve the parties' dispute on the overlapping minerals. The Supreme Court held (1) the BLM was not an indispensable party to the lease dispute; and (2) law of the case principles applied. View "Berenergy Corp. v. BTU Western Resources, Inc." on Justia Law