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Arkansas Fuel Oil Co. v. Louisiana ex rel. Muslow, 304 U.S. 197 (1938)

Arkansas Fuel Oil Co. v. Louisiana ex rel. Muslow

No. 760

Argued April 7, 1938

Decided May 2, 1938

304 U.S. 197


1. A statute of Louisiana provides that a person who has produced oil under a lease granted by the last record owner holding under a deed sufficient in terms to transfer title shall, in the absence of a suit to test title, be presumed to be the true owner of the oil; that it shall be unlawful for a purchaser of oil from such a person to withhold payment therefor, and that a purchaser making payment to such a person shall be fully protected against all other claimants. Held that, upon the facts of this case, a purchaser thus required to make payment was not deprived of any rights under the Constitution of the United States. P. 304 U. S. 198.

Though the purchaser here claimed that it would be left liable to the "true owner," it appeared that there had elapsed nearly eleven years since the deed was made to the last record owner, and four years since the oil was purchased and delivered; it did not appear that there was any other claimant, nor that the purchaser had tendered payment into court for the benefit of the "true owner," as it might have done under the state law.

2. A constitutional question will not be decided unless its decision be necessary on the record before the Court. P. 304 U. S. 202.

176 So. 686, affirmed.

Appeal from the affirmance of a judgment sustaining a judgment in favor of the relator in an action to recover the value of oil sold and delivered.

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