Gauley River Corporation (Gauley) (defendant) and American Canadian Expeditions, Ltd. (ACE) (plaintiff) were both whitewater-rafting companies. In return for $75,000, Gauley gave ACE a three-year option to buy a portion of Gauley's land, and an easement over the property, which afforded ACE's customers access to a nearby river. The option contract was silent as to any timber on the property, and before the option period expired, Gauley conducted logging operations to clear the property. Gauley received $42,000 for the timber harvest. The harvest did not interfere with ACE's easement, but ACE sued Gauley for the loss of the trees and for damage to the option property. Nevertheless, ACE went ahead and exercised its option to buy the property, stipulating that by so doing it did not waive its right to recover damages from Gauley. The judge dismissed the suit on the grounds that ACE failed to show it had either a legal or an equitable interest in the property at the time Gauley cut down its trees. ACE appealed to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.