Tierney v. Four H Land Company

288 Neb. 586 (2014)

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Tierney v. Four H Land Company

Nebraksa Supreme Court
288 Neb. 586 (2014)

  • Written by Lauren Petersen, JD

Facts

Four H Land Company Limited Partnership (Four H) (defendant) and Western Engineering Company, Inc. (Western) (defendant) entered into a contract with James and Jeffrey Tierney (plaintiffs) to extract sand and gravel from the Tierneys’ property. The contract required Four H and Western to reclaim the land after each phase of extraction. Specifically, they had to fill the sand and gravel pit, cover it with topsoil, and seed it with native grasses. During ten years of operation, Four H and Western took no steps to reclaim the property as they mined it. The mining operation enlarged an 11-acre lake to 30 acres. The Tierneys sued Four H and Western, seeking specific performance of the contract’s obligation to reclaim the land. At trial, the district court found that reclamation would require Four H and Western to undertake the massive project of pushing 25 acres of fill into the lake. Upon weighing the burden of reclamation on Four H and Western against the benefit to the Tierneys, the court held that the burdens were so great that specific performance would be unjust. Consequently, the trial court dismissed the complaint. The Tierneys appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wright, J.)

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