NO. 1260 PITTSBURGH, 1980, NO. 1277 PITTSBURGH, 1980, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Washington County, at No. 7547 In Equity, Book 44, P. 89.
Jerome Hahn, Williamsport, for Casciola and Miller, appellants (at No. 1260) and appellees (at No. 1277).
Sanford Finder, Williamsport, for August Petroleum, appellant (at No. 1277) and appellee (at No. 1260).
Cavanaugh, Montemuro and Van der Voort, JJ.
[ 303 Pa. Super. Page 376]
This case is before us on cross-appeals. The Plaintiff, August Petroleum Co., 77B, a Limited Partnership, headquartered in New York City and registered in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as an oil and gas operator (hereinafter, August), filed a Complaint in equity seeking an injunction to restrain the Defendants, Isabel Casciola and Thomas Casciola,*fn1 the owners of the surface of the land, from interfering with August's drilling and operating two gas wells on the Casciola property, and for damages because of delays which resulted from interference by the Casciolas.
The Casciolas denied such interference or liability for damages, and, by way of Counter-Claim, sought a mandatory injunction requiring August to remove from the Casciola property a three-inch gas line installed by August, and also sought compensation for damages allegedly caused by August's unauthorized installation.
[ 303 Pa. Super. Page 377]
The decree of the Chancellor grants injunctive relief to both parties, restraining the Casciolas from interfering with August's completion and operation of two gas wells on the Casciola property, and ordering August to remove the pipeline, but denying the claims of both parties for damages. Exceptions to the decree by both August and the Casciolas were dismissed, and the decree was affirmed by the Court en banc. We affirm the decree of the Lower Court.
The land involved in this dispute consists of approximately 104 acres in Cecil Township, Washington County (hereinafter, the Casciola property), purchased in 1947 by Isabel Casciola and her husband (who died December 2, 1976) from Pittsburgh Consolidated Coal Company, the predecessor of Consolidation Coal Company (hereinafter, Consolidation). Isabel Casciola deeded a home site on a portion of the property to her son, Co-Defendant Thomas Casciola. The property fronts on State Route 50 at its intersection with Muse-Cecil road. A right-of-way of the Montour Railroad, which runs in an east to west direction, effectively bisects the property, approximately half lying to the north of the railroad along Route 50, and an approximately equal acreage to the south. The Casciola property is bounded on the South by what is known as the Scoggins property.
The deed to Isabel Casciola and her now deceased husband excepts and reserves from the conveyance, in favor of the Grantor, it's successors and assigns:
All the oil and gas in and underlying said land, with the right to drill and operate thereon for the production of said oil and gas, without liability for damages to the surface of said land, the buildings or crops thereon, or any other damage in connection with the operation thereon for said oil and gas.
The surface of the Casciola property is in the beginning stages of development. Three members of the Casciola family have built homes on it. Two lot plans have been approved and recorded, one north of the railroad planned for commercial development along Route 50, and the other a plan of residential development south of the railroad. In
[ 303 Pa. Super. Page 3781977]
, a plan as yet unrecorded was proposed by James Miller, a real estate consultant to Mrs. Casciola, for the development of the remaining property for both residential and commercial purposes, including a proposed sewage treatment plant on a portion of the property north of the railroad. None of these plans had been further implemented at the time of trial in the Court below.
On May 22, 1978, Isabel Casciola granted August a right-of-way over her property for a two-inch pipeline for the transportation of water, oil, or gas from the Scoggins property line on the South to a meter site on Route 50 to the north, where the proposed line would connect with a larger gathering line of Peoples Natural Gas Company. The right-of-way agreement was written in two parts, one for the land south of the railroad and the second for the land to the north. A third agreement, signed contemporaneously, authorized the installation of a meter ...