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Chosar Corporation v. Owens

Virginia Supreme Court
370 S.E.2d 305 (Va. 1988)


A 61-acre tract of land known as the Willis tract was rich in coal. Ninety people held undivided interests in the coal. Eighty-five percent of the co-owners transferred their interests to Chosar Corporation (defendant) in exchange for a royalty. The co-owners also granted Chosar the right to transport coal from adjacent lands through underground passageways on the Willis tract. Chosar mined coal on the Willis tract, focusing on an area called the Splashdam seam. In addition, Chosar hauled coal from an adjoining tract through passageways on the Willis tract. Beulah Owens (plaintiff), a co-owner of the coal, filed suit to enjoin Chosar from mining and hauling. The trial court ruled that Chosar’s mining of coal without the consent of all cotenants constituted waste and that it excluded the interests of the nonconsenting owners. The court also found that Chosar could not haul coal on the property without the consent of all cotenants. Accordingly, the mining and hauling were both enjoined. Chosar appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Stephenson, J.)

Dissent (Thomas, J.)

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