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Diederich v. Ware

Kentucky Court of Appeals
288 S.W.2d 643 (Ky. App. 1956)


An 1859 deed severed the oil rights from the surface rights on a tract of land. In 1923, a predecessor in title of E. C. Ware (defendant) leased the right to drill for oil on the land to Mid South Oil Company (MSOC). In 1924, MSOC drilled two wells in the corner of the tract and operated them openly, notoriously, and continually ever since. Under the 1859 deed, John Diederich (plaintiff) owned the land’s mineral rights. Diederich’s predecessors in interest had been informed that MSOC was drilling for oil under an adverse claim, but did not do anything about it. Diederich brought suit seeking a declaratory judgment that he was still the owner of the minerals. The trial court ruled in favor of Ware without determining whether MSOC’s operation of wells in the corner of the tract was sufficient to constitute adverse possession of the entire tract. Diederich appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Milliken, C.J.)

Dissent (Sims, J.)

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