Texaco, Inc. v. Short

LOCATION:Furnace Woods School

DOCKET NO.: 80-965
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: Supreme Court of Indiana

CITATION: 454 US 516 (1982)
ARGUED: Oct 06, 1981
DECIDED: Jan 12, 1982

John L. Carroll – on behalf of Appellants
Verner P. Partenheimer, Jr. – on behalf of Appellee

Facts of the case


Media for Texaco, Inc. v. Short

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – October 06, 1981 in Texaco, Inc. v. Short

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – January 12, 1982 in Texaco, Inc. v. Short

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in Texaco Incorporated against Short and the related case will be announced by Justice Stevens.

John Paul Stevens:

In 1971, the Indiana Legislature enacted a statute that provides for the extinction of severed mineral interest that are not used for a period of 20 years or an additional grace period of two years after the effective date of the Act.

The use of a mineral that will — mineral interest that will prevent it from becoming extinguished by reason of non-use is either the payment of taxes on it, the attempt to exploit it in some way or to develop it in any way or simply to file a statement of interest in the county reporters’ office within the period to show that the owner intends to maintain ownership.

Now, this case is a challenge to the constitutionality of that statute by former owners of mineral interests whose interest were extinguished by the automatic operation of the statute.

They attack it as a taking of property without due process of law as an impairment of contract and they claim that the failure of the legislature require specific notice before the abandonment or extinction takes place is a procedural defect that renders the statute unconstitutional.

For reasons stated at length in an opinion filed with the clerk, we reject these constitutional challenges to the statute as did the Indiana Supreme Court and we conclude that the grace period of two years is sufficient to give the mineral interest owners an opportunity to become aware of the requirements of the statute and that they have a duty to keep informed as to the condition of their own property within the state.

A dissenting opinion has been filed by Justice Brennan, which is joined by Justice White, Justice Marshall, and Justice Powell.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Justice Stevens.