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Continental Resources, Inc. v. North Dakota Board of University and School Lands

United States District Court, D. North Dakota

April 15, 2019

CONTINENTAL RESOURCES, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
NORTH DAKOTA BOARD OF UNIVERSITY AND SCHOOL LANDS, and the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendants.

          Continental Resources, Inc.Lawrence Bender, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A. David W. Ogden, Paul R.Q. Wolfson, Nathaniel Custer, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP Counsel for Continental Resources, Inc.

          State of North Dakota Wayne Stenehjem Attorney General Charles M. Carvell, Special Asst. Attorney General David P. Garner, Jennifer L. Verleger, Assistant Attorneys General Office of the Attorney General Attorneys for North Dakota Board of University & School Lands

          Christopher C. Myers United States Attorney Kent Rockstad Quentin N. Burdick United States Courthouse Jean E. Williams Deputy Assistant Attorney General Environment and Natural Resources Division John S. Most, Trial Attorney Counsel for United States of America

          PROPOSED CASE SCHEDULE

          Clare R. Hochhalter, Magistrate Judge.

         The Parties propose that the Court adopt the following case schedule:

1. By June 14, 2019, the North Dakota Board of University & School Lands (“Land Board”) shall file a pleading that sets forth its claim to the stake.
2. By August 13, 2019, the United States of America (“United States”) shall make a filing. The nature of the filing is subject to the dispute set forth below.
3. After the United States' August 13, 2019 filing, proceedings in the case will be stayed, including any deadline the Land Board or Continental Resources, Inc. (“Continental”), may have to respond to the United States' August 13 filing, until September 19, 2019 or such other date set by further order of the Court. During the stay, the United States and Land Board shall discuss whether the dispute that gave rise to this litigation can be resolved. By no later than September 19, 2019, the United States and Land Board shall inform the Court about the status of their discussions, at which time the Court will consider a schedule by which the case will be brought to conclusion.

         With respect to Paragraph 2, the parties do not agree as to what filing the United States should or must make. The respective positions of the parties are set forth below.

         Position of Continental Resources, Inc.:

         Paragraph 2 should read as follows:

2. By August 13, 2019, the United States of America (“United States”) shall file a pleading that sets forth its claims to the stake and, as appropriate, responds to the Land Board's filing.

         Pursuant to the Court's Order on December 31, 2018, the United States must affirmatively “assert [its] claims, if any, to the disputed stake.” Order Denying Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 49, at 14 (Dec. 31, 2018). That is, the Court has expressly directed the United States-as it has also directed the Land Board-to set forth in its filing the scope of its claims to the stake as the Court has defined it-“royalty payments the United States claims to own but has not received”-and the basis for those claims. Id. at 13-14. The Court has determined that it has jurisdiction to adjudicate the United States' claims (and those of the Land Board), once asserted. Id. at 5-10.

         Continental's interpleader complaint can be resolved without resorting to the Quiet Title Act (“QTA”). While the United States is free to assert whatever defenses it may have to a QTA claim, should North Dakota advance one, the Court has already determined that the dispute between the sovereigns with respect to the royalty payments supports its jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 2410. Id. at 5-10. Accordingly, the QTA does not affect this Court's subject matter ...


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