Gilmore v. Lujan

947 F.2d 1409 (9th Cir. 1991)


P filed an oil and gas application for Parcel NV-148 in the June 1987 simultaneous filing of D. P got lucky, and his application was selected in the computerized random drawing. D sent its decision, dated August 26, which stated in part: The instructions clearly stated that the forms must be manually signed and dated. All copies of the lease form must be properly executed and filed in this office within thirty (30) days from your receipt of this decision, which constitutes a compliance period. Failure to do so will result in the rejection of your offer without further notice. P received the decision on August 29, 1987; D was to file the completed forms no later than September 28, 1987. D signed the copies of the lease form and sent them by certified mail from Kimball, Nebraska, with a return receipt requested, to the Reno office on September 21. P noticed on the morning of the deadline, Monday, September 28, that they had not yet received the return receipt card from the envelope containing the signed forms. P called D and found out that the forms had not yet been received. P was in a panic and looked into flying to Reno. P called D again and informed them P would arrange for a faxed lease form to be delivered to the Reno BLM office that day. , September 28. Bohac also states P asked an employee at D if they would consider a signed and faxed lease form. D's employee claims that she told P that telecopying 'would not do any good because it would merely be a copy and not the original and two copies as required by our August 26, 1987 decision.' P sent a telecopy to Robert McCarthy, a Reno attorney, who delivered it to the BLM at 11:15 a.m., September 28. The mailed original and copies of the signed lease form were received by the Reno office the next day, September 29. On that day, BLM informed P that his offer was rejected. P appealed the decision, and the IBLA affirmed the rejection on the grounds that the telecopied lease offer did not bear a personal, handwritten signature as required by 43 C.F.R. § 3122.6-1(a) and § 3102.4 (1986). The IBLA held that 'parties dealing with the Government are chargeable with knowledge of duly promulgated regulations' and 'the only commitment made by D's employee was to consider whether the telecopied lease offer constituted a proper lease offer,' which D did before rejecting it. P appealed to the District Court, which affirmed. D appealed.