Case No. 4394
The only important existing documents available in this case are the Complaint and the Amended Complaint. The Complaint was filed March 22, 1878, and had Reuben Denton and the California Star Oil Works Company as the defendants. When the Amended Complaint was filed on March 27, the defendant was only the California Star Oil Works Company. Denton was part owner. The following is the Amended Complaint. The case was never decided by the court (see Case 4437).
In the District Court of the 17th Judicial District of the State of California, in and for the County of Los Angeles
R.S. Baker, E.F. Beale, Sanford Lyon, and Christopher Leaming
The California Star Oil Works Company, a Corporation
Now come the plaintiffs, and file this, their amended complaint, and complaining of said defendant, aver:
That heretofore to wit: On the 12th day of April 1878, plaintiffs were the owners and possessed of the following described property situated in the county of Los Angeles, in the state of California, to wit: Commencing at a point, five hundred feet (500 ft.) due east from what is known as the Pico Oil Springs, said point being a stake marked No. 1; from thence north, five hundred feed (500 ft.) to a stake marked No. 2; thence west, one thousand feet (1000 ft.) to a stake marked No. 3; thence south on thousand feet, to a stake marked No. 4; thence east one thousand feet, to a stake marked No. 5; thence north five hundred feet to a stake marked No. 1, the place of beginning, the same being one thousand feet of what is known as the Pico Oil Springs Claim.
That they are now the owners of said property above described and all thereof.
That on the 12th day of April, 1876, while seized and possessed of said premises, they leased the same to one Reuben Denton for a period of three years from and after that date, and for and in consideration of the covenants and agreements set forth in an indenture of lease of that date, which was in words and figures as follow, to wit:
This lease made the 12th day of April, A.D. 1876, between R.S. Baker and E.F. Beale, Sanford Lyon, and Christopher Leaming parties of the first part, and Reuben Denton, party of the second part, witnesseth: that the said parties of the first part, for and in consideration of, the stipulations, rents and covenants, hereinafter contained on the part of the said party of the second part, his executors, administrators and assigns, to be paid kept and performed, have granted, demised and let unto the said party of the second part, his executors, administrators, and assigns, for the sole and only purpose of mining and excavating for petroleum, coal rock, or carbon oil, and other valuable mineral or volatile substances, all of that certain tract of land situated in Los Angeles County and State of California, and bounded and described as follows: commencing at a point five hundred feet (500 ft.) due east from what is known as the Pico Oil Springs, said point being a stake marked No. 1; from thence north five hundred feet (500 ft.) to a stake marked No. 2; thence west one thousand feet (1000 ft.) to a stake marked No. 3; thence south one thousand feet (1000 ft.) to a stake marked No. 4; thence east one thousand feet (1000 ft.) to a stake marked No. 5; thence north five hundred feet (500 ft.) to a stake marked No. 1, the place of beginning, the same being one thousand feet of what is known as the Pico Oil Springs claim.
To have and to hold the said premises for the said purpose only, unto the said party of the second part, his executors, administrators, and assigns, for during and until the full term of three (3) years, next ensuing the day and year above written. The said party of the second part, hereby covenants, in consideration of the said grant and demise, to deliver up to the said party of the first part, their heirs and assigns, the full one eighth part of the petroleum, coal rock, or carbon oil, or other valuable minerals, or volatile substances, discovered, excavated, pumped and raised on the premises herein leased, as produced, excavated, or pumped, in the crude state, in tanks at the well. The part of the second part, to furnish said tanks, and in case the said party of the second part, shall pipe from the said wells to the plain below, at or near the line of the rail road, to be constructed through a place known as the San Fernando Tunnel, that then the said party of the second part, will pipe down through their piping aforesaid, to the end of said piping as above stated, at the option of the parties of the first part, all or any of their oil, being the proportion as herein before set forth, at the rate and charge, not exceeding twenty five cents per barrel, therefor, each barrel to consist of forty two gallons. The party of the second part further covenants and agrees, at the election of the parties of the first part, to take all oil, which may be set apart, to the parties of the first part, under the agreement aforesaid, and in the condition aforesaid, at its market value, during each calendar month, of the term of this lease, or any portion thereof, and to pay therefor, every thirty days, what the parties of the first part shall elect to sell, the market value of the oil, to which the parties of the first part shall be entitled, under the covenants above specified, the party of the second part is to have use of the whole well now in process of construction, upon said premises, and no more, for the purpose of taking oil and petroleum from the said premises without the written consent of the said R.S. Baker, one of the said wells to be by the said party of the second part, sunk to a depth of five hundred feet (500 ft.) unless a full flowing well be struck at a less depth. It is expressly understood, and agreed, by the parties hereto that the well now on said premises, known as the Sanford Lyon’s well, shall be and hereby is exempt and reserved from the operations of this lease, to the Sanford Lyons, or any other person, or persons, by him thereunto authorized, for any and all purposes, for which the same was sunk, and especially for the purpose of taking oil and petroleum from the premises aforesaid and the said Sanford Lyons, his heirs and assigns, shall during the full period of this lease, be allowed free access across and over said premises to said well for all purposes necessary for the use and free enjoyment of the uses and purposes for which said well is constructed. It is further covenanted and agreed, that the parties of the first part, during the time of the continuance of this lease, shall have free and uninterrupted passage, and right of way, over all of the premises hereby leased, to any and all lands, claimed, occupied or owned by the said parties of the first part, at or near the above demised premises, and for which it may be necessary or convenient to pass over or above the above demised premises, for necessary or convenient ingress, or egress, or either and the party of the second part covenants and agrees, at the expiration of this lease, to give and surrender up the said premises, and the said wells, peaceably and without consideration. It is further mutually understood and agreed, that in case the said party of the second part shall fail or neglect for the space of ninety (90) days, at any time during the continuance of this lease, to properly and in a workmanlike manner operate and use said wells, that then this shall terminate, be void and of no further force and effect, and the parties of the first part will thereupon be restored to all their rights, privileges and estates, in like manner, as though this lease had never been executed. Time is hereby declared, and expressly agreed to be of the essence of this lease. In witness whereof, the said parties hereto, have hereunto set their hands and seals, this 12th day of April, A.D. 1876.
Robert S. Baker
E. F. Beale, by his attorney in fact, Robert S. Baker
That under and by virtue of said lease, the said Reuben Denton agreed, among other things, to deliver and pay to these plaintiffs, as the rental of said property, one eight part of the petroleum, coal oil, or carbon oil, or other valuable minerals, or other volatile substances, discovered, excavated, pumped, and raised upon the premises, hereinbefore described, as produced, excavated or pumped, in the crude state, in tanks, at the well, said lessee to furnish said tanks.
That said Reuben Denton, under and by virtue of said lease, further agreed and covenanted, in consideration thereof, and the granting and execution thereof, that he would, in a workmanlike manner, operate and use the oil and petroleum wells, upon said premises, constantly during the period of said lease, and in case of failure so to do for any period of ninety days during said term, that said lease should be forfeited.
That there were at that time four oil and petroleum wells upon said premises particularly specified in said lease, to the working of which the said lease was by said lease limited and exclusively confined.
That the product of said wells since the 12th day of April A.D. 1876, as these plaintiffs are informed and believe, and upon such information and belief, aver has been 1200 barrels per month, and of the value of three ($3) dollars gold coin per barrel.
That said defendant, the California Star Oil Works Company, is and since the 4th day of May 1876, has been a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the state of California, and holds by assignment, and is the assignee of the said Reuben Denton, of said lease from plaintiffs to said Reuben Denton, and upon the 5th day of May, 1876, accepted said assignment, and covenanted and agreed in consideration thereof, to perform and faithfully discharge each every, singularly and all, the obligations of the lessee in said lease, and took and has ever since and now holds possessions of said leased premises.
That said defendant has failed and neglected and refused, to deliver to plaintiffs, although demand has been made, one eighth of the product of said wells, and of said premises, or any other or any portion of the product thereof, as produced, excavated or pumped in tanks, at the well, or in any other manner, or to in any manner pay to plaintiffs, the rental of said premises, or any part of portion thereof, or in any manner to account therefor, and that the same and all thereof, is now due and owing from the defendant to plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs further aver that said defendant for a period of 90 days, and for a period of more than one year last past, failed and neglected to properly, or in a workmanlike manner, operated or use said wells and premises, but by its unskillful and negligent management of the same, have allowed a large proportion of the product thereof, to be wasted to the damage of plaintiffs in the sum of one hundred thousand dollars, that the defendant has not only not worked and operated said wells and premises, so leased as aforesaid, in a workmanlike manner, but, on the contrary, it has during all the time it has held and occupied said premises, under said lease, actually, willfully, and wrongfully, interrupted and prevented said wells from producing to their full capacity, or to any greater extent than one fourth of their full capacity, as plaintiffs are informed and believe to be true, whereby plaintiffs have been damaged in the further sum of fifty thousand dollars.
That the value of said premises, as plaintiffs are informed and believe and upon such information and belief aver is $250,000 gold coin.
That said defendant is in the possession of said premises, and all thereof, and refuses to operate or use the same, as covenanted in said lease; that by such failure to operate said wells as provided for in said lease, the product thereof, will be almost entirely lost, and the premises sustain material damage and injury, and the interest and property of these plaintiffs in said premises will be almost entirely lost to them. Wherefore plaintiffs pray judgment against said defendant, that said indenture of lease, of April 12th 1876, be declared forfeited, and that they be restored to possession of said premises, and all thereof, that defendant be compelled to account for all rents and profits, and for the amount of crude oil, and petroleum, produced, excavated or pumped from said wells, since the making of said lease, to the present time, and pay to plaintiffs the value of their proportion thereof, and the further sum of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars damages, so as aforesaid sustained, and that pending this litigation a receiver be appointed by the court to take, have and hold said property, and all thereof, and truly account therefor, and for such other further and general relief, as may be just and proper.
Brunson and Eastman
Attorneys for Plaintiffs
Filed March 27, 1878