Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. No. 84 76 A, John V. Parker, Judge.
Politz, Davis, and Duhe, Circuit Judges.
The appellants, Inversiones Del Angel, S.A. ("Inversiones") and Roberta E. Simes ("Simes"), appeal from the district court's rejection of their claim of ownership of one-third the minerals under the streets of Audubon Village Subdivision in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. The undisputed facts are:
In 1966 Melba Leroy Harvey, Melba Leroy Harvey, Jr. and Edwina Ford Anderson sold 320 acres of land, a portion of which now comprises Audubon Village Subdivision, to Reed Erikson. In the act of sale Melba Leroy Harvey and Melba Leroy Harvey, Jr. each reserved one-sixth of all minerals on the 320 acre tract. It is the ownership of this one-third mineral interest that is the subject of the dispute in this case.
In 1972 Erikson sold to Gauguin, Inc. that portion of the tract that now encompasses Audubon Village Subdivision. In 1973 Gauguin, Inc. recorded in the Livingston Parish conveyance records a copy of a plat of survey of Audubon Village Subdivision prepared by a registered land surveyor. The district court found that this recording and the plat substantially complied with La.Rev.Stat.Ann. 33:5051 (West 1989) and, consequently, constituted a statutory dedication to the State of Louisiana of the ownership of the streets and alleys shown on the recorded plat of Audubon Village Subdivision. See Pioneer Production Corp. v. Segraves, 340 So.2d 270 (La.1970). Inversiones and Simes do not appeal this finding. However, when Gauguin, Inc. effected the statutory dedication in 1973, the 1966 Harvey reservation of one-third the minerals was yet outstanding. Thus, the dedication of the streets did not then carry with it the mineral interest around which the dispute on appeal revolves. In 1976 the Harvey mineral interest prescribed.
In 1980, Gauguin, Inc. transferred the remaining property back to Erikson but reserved the mineral rights. In 1981, Gauguin, Inc. transferred to appellant Roberta E. Simes fifteen percent of its mineral interest in the property. This conveyance purported to include the interest that had been reserved by the Harveys in the 1966 sale to Erikson. In 1982 Gauguin, Inc. transferred to Inversiones Del Angel, S.A. all of its mineral interest in the property comprising Audubon Village Subdivision.
Callon Petroleum Company operated several unit wells on the property until 1985; since that time Amoco Production Company has operated the wells. Callon paid no royalties attributable to the disputed mineral rights, prompting Inversiones to initiate this action against Callon to recover royalties due. Callon deposited the disputed funds in the registry of the court and filed a counterclaim in the nature of an interpleader against Inversiones and impleaded the Parish of Livingston and ...