Bandini Petroleum Co. v. Superior Court - 284 U.S. 8 (1931)
U.S. Supreme Court
Bandini Petroleum Co. v. Superior Court, 284 U.S. 8 (1931)
Bandini Petroleum Co. v. Superior Court
Argued October 13, 14, 1931
Decided November 23, 1931
284 U.S. 8
1. A judgment of a state court denying a writ of prohibition to restrain another state court and one of its judges from enforcing an injunction order held a final judgment within the meaning of Jud.Code, § 237(a). P. 14.
2. A proceeding in California for a writ of prohibition to restrain a California court from exercising jurisdiction in an injunction suit under a statute of that state alleged to be in conflict with the Federal Constitution goes only to the jurisdiction of that court to entertain the suit before it, and if, on its face, as construed by the state courts, the statute be valid, judgment denying prohibition should be affirmed here; constitutional and other questions as to the application of the statute to the situation developed in the injunction suit should be decided and reviewed in that proceeding; they cannot be imported into the prohibition case. P. 284 U. S. 14.
3. The Oil & Gas Conservation Act of California (§§ 8b and 14b) prohibits "the unreasonable waste of natural gas" in oil and gas fields, and authorizes the Director of Natural Resources to enforce the prohibition. The term "unreasonable waste," as construed by the state supreme court, means allowing gas to come to the surface in excess of a reasonable proportion to the amount of oil produced, so that the power of the gas to lift oil from the oil "sand" or formation is not fully utilized, and that court has found that this reasonable proportion could not be determined by the legislature by definite ratios or percentages which would operate without discrimination, but can be judicially ascertained with fair certainty in each individual case. Held that the statute is not invalid on its face for uncertainty, so as to deprive a state court of jurisdiction to consider relevant questions of fact and determine with respect to a particular field whether there has been the unreasonable waste that the statute condemns. P. 284 U. S. 16.
4. The provision of the above-mentioned statute that "the blowing, release or escape of natural gas into the air shall be prima facie evidence of unreasonable waste" is not invalid. P. 284 U. S. 18.
5. Construed a regulating the correlative right of surface owner with respect to a common source of supply of oil and gas, the statute is valid upon its face. P. 284 U. S. 22.
109 Cal.App. ___, 293 P. 899, affirmed.
Appeal from a judgment denying a writ of prohibition. The Supreme Court of the state declined to review.