B-129315, JANUARY 2, 1957, 36 COMP. GEN. 481

B-129315: Jan 2, 1957

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LEASES - OIL AND GAS - RELINQUISHMENT ON THE RENT DAY THE NOTICE BY THE LESSEE OF THE RELINQUISHMENT OF SEVERAL OIL AND GAS LEASES FILED ON THE DATE THAT THE RENT FOR THE NEXT YEAR IS DUE AND PAYABLE IS TO BE REGARDED AS TAKING EFFECT COINCIDENT WITH THE FIRST MOMENT OF THAT DAY SO THAT THE LESSEE IS NOT LIABLE FOR THE NEXT YEAR'S RENT. THE LEASEHOLD ESTATES ACQUIRED BY THE HUMBLE COMPANY WERE FOR A 5 YEAR PERIOD. ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE MONTH IN WHICH THE LEASES WERE ISSUED. FIVE LEASES WERE ISSUED AND BECAME EFFECTIVE ON JULY 1. RELINQUISHMENTS OF ALL FIVE LEASES PURSUANT TO THE TERMS OF 30 U.S.C. 187B WERE RECEIVED FROM THE LESSEE. THE DAY RENT IS DUE AND PAYABLE IN ADVANCE. THIS IS ALSO THE LEGAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE WORD. 25 C.J.S.

B-129315, JANUARY 2, 1957, 36 COMP. GEN. 481

LEASES - OIL AND GAS - RELINQUISHMENT ON THE RENT DAY THE NOTICE BY THE LESSEE OF THE RELINQUISHMENT OF SEVERAL OIL AND GAS LEASES FILED ON THE DATE THAT THE RENT FOR THE NEXT YEAR IS DUE AND PAYABLE IS TO BE REGARDED AS TAKING EFFECT COINCIDENT WITH THE FIRST MOMENT OF THAT DAY SO THAT THE LESSEE IS NOT LIABLE FOR THE NEXT YEAR'S RENT.

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, JANUARY 2, 1957:

IN A LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 24, 1956, THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT, LESSOR, SHOULD DEMAND FROM THE HUMBLE OIL AND REFINING COMPANY, LESSEE, A YEAR'S RENT ON CERTAIN OIL AND GAS LEASES.

THE LEASEHOLD ESTATES ACQUIRED BY THE HUMBLE COMPANY WERE FOR A 5 YEAR PERIOD. ACCORDING TO THE LEASE AGREEMENTS THE LESSEE CONTRACTED TO PAY RENT ANNUALLY, IN ADVANCE, ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE MONTH IN WHICH THE LEASES WERE ISSUED. FIVE LEASES WERE ISSUED AND BECAME EFFECTIVE ON JULY 1, 1951. ABOUT 1:50 P.M. ON JULY 1, 1954, THE DAY ON WHICH THE FOURTH YEAR'S RENT BECAME DUE, RELINQUISHMENTS OF ALL FIVE LEASES PURSUANT TO THE TERMS OF 30 U.S.C. 187B WERE RECEIVED FROM THE LESSEE. THIS STATUTE PROVIDES THAT A LESSEE MAY FILE AT ANY TIME IN THE APPROPRIATE LAND OFFICE A WRITTEN RELINQUISHMENT OF ALL RIGHTS, AND THAT SUCH RELINQUISHMENT "SHALL BE EFFECTIVE AS OF THE DATE OF ITS FILING, SUBJECT TO THE CONTINUED OBLIGATION OF THE LESSEE OR HIS SURETY TO MAKE PAYMENT OF ALL ACCRUED RENTALS AND ROYALTIES.'

THE SOLE PROBLEM PRESENTED CONCERNS THE EFFECT OF A RELINQUISHMENT FILED ON RENT DAY, THE DAY RENT IS DUE AND PAYABLE IN ADVANCE. AS NOTED ABOVE, UNDER THE TERMS OF THE APPLICABLE STATUTE A RELINQUISHMENT BECOMES EFFECTIVE AS OF THE DATE OF ITS FILING. THE WORD "DATE" IN ITS ORDINARY MEANING IMPORTS THE DAY, MONTH, AND YEAR, AND THIS IS ALSO THE LEGAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE WORD. 25 C.J.S. DATE. THE WORD "DATE" GENERALLY WILL BE CONSTRUED AS INCLUDING THE ENTIRE DAY OR DATE EXCEPT WHERE ACTS ARE REQUIRED TO BE DONE IN A CERTAIN ORDER. 11 W. AND P. PERM. 93. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS CASE THEN, IT WOULD NOT BE LEGALLY OBJECTIONABLE TO CONSTRUE THE WORD "DATE" AS BEING EQUIVALENT TO A PARTICULAR DAY. ORDINARILY, WHEN COMPUTING TIME A DAY IS NOT FRACTIONIZED. AS STATED IN 86 C.J.S. TIME, SECTION 16:

AS A GENERAL RULE, IN THE COMPUTATION OF TIME, A DAY IS TO BE CONSIDERED AS AN INDIVISIBLE UNIT OR PERIOD OF TIME, WHICH HAS ITS BEGINNING COINCIDENT WITH THE FIRST MOMENT OF THE DAY * * *.

HENCE, THE RELINQUISHMENTS FILED ON JULY 1, 1956, MAY BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING TAKEN EFFECT ,COINCIDENT WITH THE FIRST MOMENT OF THE DAY.'

BY APPLICATION OF THIS SAME CONCEPT TO THE RENTAL, IT IS OBVIOUS THAT THE FOURTH YEAR'S RENTAL BECAME DUE AND PAYABLE AT THE FIRST MOMENT OF THE DAY BUT SINCE THE RELINQUISHMENTS BECAME EFFECTIVE AT THAT SAME MOMENT IT CANNOT BE SAID THAT THE FOURTH YEAR'S RENTAL HAD ALREADY ACCRUED. TO SO HOLD WOULD RENDER INOPERATIVE THE STATUTORY COMMAND THAT A RELINQUISHMENT BECOMES EFFECTIVE ,AS OF THE DATE" OF FILING AND, OF COURSE, SUCH A CONCLUSION WOULD BE INEQUITABLE SINCE THE GOVERNMENT WOULD OBTAIN THE RENT AND THE USE OF THE PROPERTY, TOO.

ACCORDINGLY, WE AGREE WITH THE OPINION OF YOUR DEPARTMENT AS STATED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S LETTER THAT IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO DEMAND PAYMENT OF RENT FROM THE HUMBLE OIL AND REFINING COMPANY ON THESE FIVE LEASES FOR THE PERIOD BEGINNING JULY 1, 1954.