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Anderson v. Beech Aircraft

Kansas Supreme Court
699 P.2d 1023 (1985)


Facts

Lowell and Aileen Anderson (plaintiffs) owned a piece of land over a portion of a natural-gas reservoir. The Andersons leased their gas interests to Avanti Petroleum, Inc. (Avanti) (plaintiff). Beech Aircraft Corporation (Beech) (defendant) owned a neighboring piece of land that was also over a portion of the natural-gas reservoir. There was no more original, native natural gas in the reservoir. However, Beech was pumping natural gas from outside sources into the otherwise empty reservoir for storage. From the Andersons’ neighboring piece of land, Avanti was then collecting and producing the non-native natural gas that Beech had pumped in. Beech had not obtained a lease, license, or any other permit to use the portion of the reservoir under the Andersons’ property. The Andersons and Avanti filed a lawsuit to quiet title and establish everyone’s rights to the natural gas contained in the reservoir. The trial court ruled that the natural gas contained in the reservoir was not owned until it was produced out of the reservoir, and, therefore, the plaintiffs could continue producing natural gas from the reservoir. Beech appealed, and the Kansas Supreme Court eventually heard the appeal on this issue.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Prager, J.)

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