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Bedroc Limited v. United States

Docket No.: 02-1593
Certiorari Granted: Sep 30 2003
Argued: January 20, 2004
Decided: March 31, 2004

Topics:

43 U.S.C. 351, Economic Activity, Natural Resources, Anti-Injunction Act, Bureau of Land Management, EPA, Internal Revenue Code, equitable relief, habeas, patent, stare decisis

PartyNames: BedRoc Limited, LLC, and Western Elite, Inc. v. United States, et al.
Petitioner: BedRoc Limited, LLC, and Western Elite, Inc.
Respondent: United States, et al.

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Citation: CA 9, 314 F.3d 1080 QUESTIONS PRESENTED The Pittman Underground Water Act of 1919 (the "Pittman Act") authorizedpatents of up to 640 acres of land in Nevada to applicants who successfully developed subterranean water sources, provided that such patents reservedto the United States "all the coal and other valuable minerals." Citing Watt v. Western Nuclear , 462 U.S. 36 (1983), the Ni nth Circuit ruled that the Pittman Act reserved all sand and gravel as "valuable minerals," regardless of whether the materials at any given property had economic value at thetime the land was patented.
Supreme Court Docket

BedRoc Limited, LLC, and Western Elite, Inc.
v.
United States, et al.
541 U.S. 176 (2004)
Background:

The Pittman Underground Water Act of 1919 (the "Pittman Act") authorizedpatents of up to 640 acres of land in Nevada to applicants who successfully developed subterranean water sources, provided that such patents reservedto the United States "all the coal and other valuable minerals." Citing Watt v. Western Nuclear , 462 U.S. 36 (1983), the Ni nth Circuit ruled that the Pittman Act reserved all sand and gravel as "valuable minerals," regardless of whether the materials at any given property had economic value at thetime the land was patented.

Question Presented:

(1) Whether the reservation of "valuable minerals" includes all common materials (such as sand and gravel), without regard to whether thematerials located on particular lands were "valuable minerals" at the time of the patent; and (2) If Watt v. Western Nuclear calls for the application of a per se rule regarding the reservation (or non-reservation) of common materials, whether congressional intent would be better served by a rule that commonmaterials are not reserved to the government as "valuable minerals." CERT. GRANTED: 9/30/03

Question:

Does the reservation to the United States of all "coal and other valuable minerals" in patents issued under the Pittman Act (1919) include commercially valuable sand and gravel?

Note:

. CA 9, 314 F.3d 1080

Bedroc Limited v. United States
ORAL ARGUMENT

January 20, 2004

Holding: reversed and remanded
Decision: Decision: 6 votes for Bedroc Limited, 3 vote(s) against
Vote: 6-3
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