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Moseley v. Hearrell

Supreme Court of Texas
171 S.W.2d 337 (Tex. 1943)


Facts

R.N. Wood owned a mineral interest subject to the limitation that a maximum of one well could be drilled on the land. Wood conveyed a 49/128 interest in his mineral estate to Lola Hearrell (defendant). Later, Wood conveyed the rest of his mineral interest to J.A.R. Moseley, Jr. (plaintiff). Moseley brought suit seeking partition of the mineral estate. A Texas statute stated that any joint owner of a mineral interest can compel partition of the interest. Texas law further provided that if partition in kind was impracticable, the court could order partition by sale, and split the proceeds of the sale among the joint owners. Hearrell argued that she would not be able to afford to buy back her mineral interest if the court ordered partition by sale, and that Moseley, by bringing suit, was in effect seeking to gain control of her interest. Hearrell’s argument was thus that partition would be inequitable. The trial court held that partition in kind of the interest was not possible, and ordered partition of the land by sale. The Texas Court of Civil Appeals reversed, finding that Moseley was not entitled to partition without basing such partition on equitable grounds. Moseley appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Alexander, C.J.)

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