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U.S. Supreme Court

Leiter Minerals, Inc. v. United States, 352 U.S. 220 (1957)

Leiter Minerals, Inc. v. United States

No. 26

Argued November 6-7, 1956

Decided January 14, 1957

352 U.S. 220


Petitioner filed a petitory action in a Louisiana state court against respondent mineral lessees of the United States, seeking to have itself declared owner of the mineral rights under land owned by the United States, and an accounting for oil and other minerals removed by respondent lessees under their lease from the United States. Petitioner's claim was founded on a Louisiana statute which allegedly made "imprescriptible" a reservation of mineral rights in a deed to the United States by its predecessor in title. The United States then brought suit against petitioner and other interested parties in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana to quiet title in the mineral rights and for a preliminary injunction to restrain petitioner from prosecuting its action in the state court. The District Court issued the injunction, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.


1. 28 U.S.C. § 2283, which restricts the granting of injunctions by federal courts to stay proceedings in state courts, is inapplicable to stays sought by the United States. Pp. 352 U. S. 224-226.

2. In the circumstances of this case, the granting of the injunction was proper. United States v. Bank of New York Trust Co., 296 U. S. 463, distinguished. Pp. 352 U. S. 226-228.

3. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is modified to permit an interpretation of the state statute to be sought with every expedition in the state court. Pp. 352 U. S. 228-230.

224 F.2d 381 modified and affirmed.

Page 352 U. S. 221

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