Appeals from the Judgment of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Indiana County, No. 2 EQ. of 1983 and 93 C.D. 1983.
E.J. Strassburger, Pittsburgh, for appellants.
Louis Emanuel, Pittsburgh, for appellees.
Rowley, Wieand and Del Sole, JJ.
[ 357 Pa. Super. Page 541]
This case arose out of the execution of an oil and gas lease by life tenant Mary E. Chambers in favor of the developer, James R. Doverspike and Carl Doverspike, t/d/b/a J.C. Enterprises (Doverspike). The remaindermen to the estate are Mary E. Chambers' son, Donald E., and his
[ 357 Pa. Super. Page 542]
wife, Shirley (remaindermen). Upon the death of the life tenant, the remaindermen brought an action of trespass against Doverspike for trespass and conversion, and later amended their action to include a request for declaratory judgment, seeking to be declared the owners of the gas rights to the estate. Doverspike brought an action in equity against the remaindermen and the estate of the life tenant seeking both a preliminary and final injunction to to enjoin the remaindermen from interfering in the operation of the gas wells, a declaratory judgment declaring itself to be the owner of the gas rights in the real estate, and damages for breach of warranty by the life tenant.
The actions were consolidated by an order of court dated February 3, 1983, and both parties thereafter moved for summary judgment. The trial court granted Doverspike's motion for summary judgment, denied remaindermen's motion for summary judgment, and entered judgment for Doverspike. Thereafter, the remaindermen filed exceptions to the order granting and denying summary judgment and petitioned for reconsideration of the order entering judgment. The petition for reconsideration was granted, and thereafter, the trial court confirmed its initial decision and denied the exceptions advanced by the remaindermen on reconsideration.
The remaindermen then filed the appeal at 898 Pittsburgh, 1985 in which they raise two issues: 1) whether the trial court erred in granting summary judgment based on the open mine doctrine; and 2) whether they were entitled to summary judgment because the lease did not comply with the Statute of Frauds. Doverspike raised the additional issues at 899 Pittsburgh, 1985 of whether, if the lease terminated with the death of the life tenant, the remaindermen have any interest in the property or improvements of Doverspike, and if the remaindermen are the owners of the wells, whether the doctrine of unjust enrichment requires them to compensate Doverspike for the benefit they have been granted.
On review of an order granting summary judgment, an appellate court needs to determine ...