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Best v. Humboldt Placer Mining Co., 371 U.S. 334 (1963)

Best v. Humboldt Placer Mining Co.

No. 52

Argued December 10, 1962

Decided January 14, 1963

371 U.S. 334


The United States sued in a Federal District Court to condemn any outstanding mining claims on certain public lands needed for the construction of a dam, in order to obtain immediate possession, and the complaint asked that the United States be allowed to reserve authority to have the validity of the mining claims determined in administrative proceedings before the Bureau of Land Management of the Department of the Interior. After being granted a writ of possession, the Government instituted such administrative proceedings for a determination as to the validity of respondents' unpatented mining claims. Respondents thereupon sued to enjoin conduct of the administrative proceedings, but an injunction was denied.

Held: institution of the condemnation suit in the District Court was an appropriate way of obtaining immediate possession; it was not inconsistent with the administrative remedy for determining the validity of the mining claims, and the District Court acted properly in holding its hand until the issue of the validity of the mining claims has been resolved by the agency entrusted by Congress with that task. Pp. 371 U. S. 334-340.

293 F.2d 553 reversed.

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