On November 1, 1981, the Bureau of Land Management entered into a 10-year lease for geothermal resources near Las Cruces, New Mexico. The lessee drilled wells capable of production in paying quantities and invested substantial sums in the lease. On or about November 23, 1993, the BLM sent, by certified mail, an undated document to the lessee at the wrong address, which was returned unclaimed, triggering an expiration of the lease by operation of law. The appeal to the Interior Board of Land Appeals was denied.
On April 6, 1998, MSLF filed a lawsuit on behalf of Mann and Crowne Geothermal. The United States filed a motion to dismiss on February 26, 1999, to which MSLF responded on August 23, 1999. The United States filed a responsive brief on February 11, 2000. MSLF filed its final brief on April 24, 2000. Oral arguments took place on June 13, 2001. On September 3, 2002, the Court of Federal Claims ruled that the BLM's general "constructive notice" regulations controlled over its specific geothermal regulations requiring "actual receipt of notice." The Court thereupon granted the motion of the United States to dismiss Mann's case.
On December 30, 2002, Mann filed its opening brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to which the United States responded on February 19, 2003, to which Mann replied on March 10, 2003. Oral arguments were held on June 3, 2003, in Washington, D.C.On June 27, 2003, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that the United States had breached Mr. Mann's leasing by failing to send notice of a potential cancellation to Mr. Mann's "last address of record." The case was returned to the Court of Federal Claims and dispositive motions were filed.
On September 1, 2005, arguments were held regarding the federal government's motion for partial summary judgment. On November 28, 2005, the court denied the government's motion. A trial was held November 28-30, 2005. Post-trial briefs were filed on February 2, March 3, and March 8, 2006. On April 9, 2009, Mr. Mann was awarded $869,501.52 in damages. On August 28, 2009, Mr. Mann timely filed his bill of costs and an application for attorneys' fees and non-taxable expenses. On June 11, 2010, the court awarded Mr. Mann $5,159.70 in costs, slightly less than had been billed. On June 20, 2012, Mr. Mann filed a notice advising that his application for attorney fees is still pending.
On July 14, 2014, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ordered the federal government to pay Mr. Mann more than a third of a million dollars in attorneys' fees and expenses. On November 25, 2014, that payment was made.