No. 850 Pittsburgh, 1980, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Clearfield County, Civil Division, at No. 79-825-CD.
Carl A. Belin, Jr., Clearfield, for appellants.
James K. Nevling, Clearfield, for appellees.
Cercone, President Judge, and Brosky and Hoffman, JJ.
[ 290 Pa. Super. Page 176]
Appellants commenced this action to quiet title against appellees claiming ownership of rights to coal located below the surface of a certain tract of land located in Clearfield County.
[ 290 Pa. Super. Page 177]
Appellees claim title to both the surface and underlying coal rights by inheritance from one who received his title by deed.
Appellants argue that the deed conveyed an interest only in the land surface and allege that the lower court erred in its decision to grant appellees' motion for judgment on the pleadings. Specifically, appellants contest the lower court's conclusion that the deed clearly conveyed to appellees' predecessor in title, interests in both the surface and the coal. Appellants also contend that the lower court erred in holding that they could not be found to have adversely possessed the subject property. We agree with appellants' contentions and reverse the order.
In reviewing the order of the lower court, we are guided by the following principles. To grant a motion for judgment on the pleadings, the court must be confronted with a very clear case; if there is any issue of fact which is unresolved, the motion should not be granted. Coal Operators Casualty Co. v. Charles T. Easterley and Co., Inc., 440 Pa. 218, 221, 269 A.2d 671, 672 (1970). See also Eckborg v. Hyde-Murphy Co., 442 Pa. 283, 276 A.2d 513 (1971). A judgment on the pleadings should not be granted unless the moving party's right to prevail is "so clear that 'a trial would clearly be a fruitless exercise' . . ." Wade v. Heisey, 243 Pa. Super. 8, 364 A.2d 423 (1976) (citing cases). All of the well pleaded allegations of the party opposing the motion must be accepted as true, while only those facts specifically admitted by the party opposing the motion may be considered against him. Wade v. Heisey, supra.
The pleadings filed in the present case reveal the following facts.*fn1 Appellants and appellees are heirs of
[ 290 Pa. Super. Page 178]
Abraham Nevling who, until his death on July 2, 1904, was the owner of the subject premises which was comprised of 159 acres and 121 perches of coal and approximately 105 acres of surface overlying the coal. The remaining 54 ...