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NEW YORK STATE NATURAL GAS CORPORATION v. ROEDER (02/06/56)

February 6, 1956

NEW YORK STATE NATURAL GAS CORPORATION
v.
ROEDER, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 214, Jan. T., 1955, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Clinton County, April T., 1951, No. 3, in case of New York State Natural Gas Corporation v. Wesley H. Roeder, Trustee, et al. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Edward J. Harkins, with him Robert J. Wharton, James D. Wolfe, Clay McCormick, Harkins & Wharton, Wolfe & Wolfe and Furst, McCormick, Muir & Lynn, for appellants.

Henry M. Hipple, with him G. Kirby Herrington, for appellee.

Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Bell, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.

Author: Arnold

[ 384 Pa. Page 199]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ARNOLD

This action was begun by a bill in equity in which the plaintiff sought to restrain the defendants, inter alia, from drilling a gas well on the property leased to plaintiff, alleging that the defendants were mere intruders had no rights to the gas in question, and were engaged in a continuing trespass.

After taking testimony at length on plaintiff's application for a preliminary injunction, the chancellor, the late Judge HIPPLE, made elaborate findings of fact and conclusions of law and granted the preliminary injunction. Thereafter, on final hearing, by stipulation of the parties the testimony taken on the preliminary injunction was received, and some additional testimony was taken. The parties then presented requests for findings of fact and conclusions of law, which were argued before Judge HIPPLE.

[ 384 Pa. Page 200]

Before final decree Judge HIPPLE unfortunately died and the case was disposed of by the Honorable A. H. LIPEZ, his successor.

Prior to the doing of the acts complained of, the plaintiff had acquired, by lease, the oil and gas under 173 acres, more or less (actually 173.3 acres) in Leidy Township, Clinton County, Pennsylvania. This lease, with its accompanying ratification by two of the parties, was recorded May 3, 1948, and the plaintiff went into possession, drilling a well now known as Daugherty No. 1, which was completed August 3, 1950. This resulted in an open flow production of 61,000,000 feet of natural gas daily with rock pressure of 4160 pounds.

By writing dated March 1, 1950, one Frank P. Daugherty (common source of title) executed a purported oil and gas lease for one acre to the defendant, Roeder. This lease was not recorded until June 29, 1950. Roeder, Trustee, thereafter sold and granted various fractional interests to the other defendants as tenants in common with him, declaring himself trustee for them.

About August 18, 1950, the defendants prepared to drill a gas well on the area of this purported lease. Upon learning of it in September, 1950, the plaintiff, by letter, receipt of which defendants acknowledged, requested the defendants to cease operations and ...


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