Gulf Refining Co. v. United States
269 U.S. 125 (1925)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Gulf Refining Co. v. United States, 269 U.S. 125 (1925)

Gulf Refining Company v. United States

Nos. 59, 60

Argued October 19, 1925

Decided November 16, 1925

269 U.S. 125

Syllabus

1. When a decree of the circuit court of appeals reverses the decree of the district court and remands the case for further proceedings not inconsistent with the former court's opinion, the opinion is, in effect, a part of the mandate, and, if the opinion in effect directs the district court to enter a decree for a definite sum, permitting nothing further in that court but the performance of this ministerial duty, the decree of the circuit court of appeals is final for purposes of appeal. P. 269 U. S. 135.

2. In a suit to quiet title to land, regain possession, enjoin further trespass, and for an accounting for oil extracted, a decree of the district court granting this relief to the plaintiff against the defendant and confirming an accounting made was final for purposes of appeal to this Court, although it reserved jurisdiction to execute its provisions by compelling an additional accounting in respect of oil extracted pendente lite. P. 269 U. S. 136.

3. An appeal from a decree in equity in a federal court is not a new suit in the appellate court, but a continuation of the cause, and the cause remains pending until the appeal is disposed of. P. 269 U. S. 137.

4. The rule (in Louisiana) which allows a trespasser whose trespass is qualified by moral, though not by legal, good faith, to offset his expenditures against the value of products extracted from the land when required to account in a suit brought by the land owner primarily to enforce the latter's title and right of possession applies not only to the operations of the defendant preceding the filing of the bill and entry of decree against him in the court of first instance (Mason v. United States,260 U. S. 545), but also to the continuance of those operations pending decision of his appeal while his possession is continued through a supersedeas. Id.

5. The moral good faith attending the trespass is not affected by the filing of the bill or the rendition of the first decree, but continues until final adjudication upon appeal. Id.

Page 269 U. S. 126

6. In suits by the United States to enjoin continuing trespasses upon withdrawn oil lands and for an incidental accounting for oil extracted, the district court entered decrees granting the main relief and confirming accountings up to a date subsequent to the filing of the bill, in which the defendants, as trespassers in moral good faith, were allowed to offset expenses of extraction against value of oil extracted. The decrees having been in these respects affirmed upon appeal to this Court pending which the defendants continued their possession and operations through supersedeas, the district court, pursuant to interlocutory directions contained in the original decrees, required further accountings for oil extracted since the first accounting. Held that the second accountings were continuations of the first, and that it was proper, and within the authority of the district court, to credit against the oil extracted since the first accounting not only the expenses during that subsequent period, but also the earlier expenses insofar as they exceeded the value of the oil extracted during the period covered by the first accounting. P. 269 U. S. 138.

7. A party who pays in money to the clerk of the district court to satisfy a judgment in favor of the United States is required by Rev.Stats. § 828 to pay the clerk a commission of 1% on the amount paid in, as part of the costs. P. 269 U. S. 139.

8. The act placing the clerks of court on a salary basis left the taxability of clerks' charges where it was. The government pays the salary and steps into the shoes of the clerk in respect of the right to fees and emoluments -- where the government is a party as well as in other cases. Id.

298 F. 281 affirmed in part; reversed in part.

Appeals from decrees of the circuit court of appeals reversing in part and affirming in part decrees entered by he district court in two of the cases which were before this Court in Mason v. United States,260 U. S. 545. The decrees related to final accountings for oil extracted from withdrawn oil lands, and one of them involved also a question of costs.

Page 269 U. S. 133

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