936 F2d 577 Copple v. United States Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management
936 F.2d 577
NOTICE: Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3 provides that dispositions other than opinions or orders designated for publication are not precedential and should not be cited except when relevant under the doctrines of law of the case, res judicata, or collateral estoppel.
Jeanette R. COPPLE, Personal Representative of the Estate of
Gordon B. Copple, Deceased, Fred Cooper, heir of
Gust E. Svensson, Deceased, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
UNITED STATES Of America, DEPARTMENT OF the INTERIOR, BUREAU
OF LAND MANAGEMENT, Defendants-Appellees.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Submitted June 13, 1991.*
Decided June 18, 1991.
Before BRUNETTI, KOZINSKI and RYMER, Circuit Judges.
Plaintiffs' failure to timely file a notice of intention to hold constituted abandonment of their mining claim. 43 U.S.C. Sec. 1744(c). Even though the United States Air Force had condemned a leasehold interest in the land and was litigating damages, plaintiffs were still the owners and thus had the responsibility of filing the notice. 43 U.S.C. Sec. 1744(a) (requiring the owner to file notice). The 1985 letter did not constitute a defective notice as it only requested the return of original documents from the 1984 filing; it did not purport to be notice for the 1985 year and made no mention of plaintiffs' intent for 1985. Admin.Rec. at 101. And defendants' actual notice of plaintiffs' intent is irrelevant. United States v. Locke, 471 U.S. 84, 102 (1985).
Plaintiffs' vague assertion that some official may have "misled" their lawyer, Admin.Rec. at 151-52, is clearly insufficient to support an estoppel claim against the government. S & M Investment Co. v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 911 F.2d 324, 329 (9th Cir.1990) (giving of oral misinformation generally does not constitute the affirmative misconduct necessary to estop the government; more egregious misconduct, such a "pervasive pattern of false promises" required), cert. denied, 111 S.Ct. 963 (1991); Sawyer v. County of Sonoma, 719 F.2d 1001, 1007 n. 13 (9th Cir.1983) (statements made to attorneys, who are uniquely qualified to understand statutes and protect their rights, are very unlikely to result in estoppel). Nor does it matter that the BLM sent reminders to the wrong person. The BLM is not required to inform individuals of filing requirements, Locke, 471 U.S. at 109-10, no less remind those who have filed in the past, see id. at 108-09. And the statute makes no exception for excusable neglect by counsel; even if it did, plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that the neglect here was excusable.