Hukill v. Guffey

CourtSupreme Court of West Virginia
Citation16 S.E. 544,37 W.Va. 425
PartiesHUKILL v. GUFFEY et al.
Decision Date27 April 1892

Submitted June 14, 1892.

Syllabus by the court.

1. A junior lessee brought an action of unlawful detainer against the senior lessee of an oil and gas lease for a tract of land of 30 acres. It was held that the senior lease was forfeited by its own terms by reason of the failure of such lessee to comply with the conditions thereof; that the execution of the junior lease by the lessor was a sufficient declaration of such forfeiture; that the senior lease was thus avoided by the execution of the junior lease, which was good against the senior lease; that the junior lessee could maintain an action of unlawful detainer against the senior lessee in possession and a judgment in such action in favor of the junior lessee against such senior lessee for the possession of the tract of 30 acres for oil purposes was affirmed. Guffey v Hukill, 34 W.Va. 49, 11 S.E. 754. Afterwards the senior lessee files his bill in equity against the landlord and the junior lessees, praying, among other things, relief against such forfeiture. Held, the fact of the forfeiture of the senior lease is res judicata, and cannot be brought into question, and again litigated in the suit in equity.

2. The tract of land of 30 acres in controversy is situated in an oil field, at the time of the senior lease partially developed. The senior lessee, and those claiming under him had for more than 9 months failed to commence to bore for oil, and had failed to pay or deposit for the lessor the $1.33 1-3 per month. Held, under the circumstances of the case, the senior lessee, and those claiming under him, are not entitled to be relieved against the forfeiture by paying such sum. The damages to be looked to are the damages resulting from the breach of the covenant to bore for oil, and not the failure to pay $1.33 1-3 per month in lieu thereof; and the damages resulting from the failure to do the specific thing, viz. to bore for oil, not being susceptible of pecuniary measurement, and therefore not compensable, the relief from such forfeiture is denied.

3. Parol evidence will not be received to ingraft upon or incorporate with a valid, written contract an agreement made contemporaneously therewith and inconsistent with its terms. The fraud which will let in such evidence must be fraud in the procurement of the instrument which goes to its validity or some breach of confidence in using a paper delivered for one purpose by fraudulently perverting it to another.

English, J., dissenting.

Appeal from circuit court, Monongalia county; E. M. HAGANS, Judge.

Suit by Edwin M. Hukill against J. M. Guffey and others to relieve plaintiff from a forfeiture of a lease, and for an injunction to the execution of a writ of possession on a judgment rendered in a case of unlawful detainer. Guffey v. Hukill, 34 W.Va. 49, 11 S.E. 754. There was a decree dissolving the injunction and dismissing plaintiff's bill, and he appeals. Qualified and affirmed.

Okey Johnson, W. P. Hubbard, and Keck, Son & Fast, for appellant

Berkshire & Sturgiss, A. F. Haymond, and Alfred Caldwell, for Apppellees.

HOLT, J.

This is a suit in equity, brought on the 28th day of June, 1890, in the circuit court of Monongalia county, by Edwin M. Hukill against J. M. Guffey, Michael Murphy, Rezin Calvert, David Wise, and Joseph Bushnell, praying, among other things relief from the forfeiture of what is called the "Hays Oil Lease," for an injunction to the execution of a writ of possession on the judgment rendered by the court of appeals of this state on the 24th of June, 1890, in the case of unlawful detainer of Guffey against Hukill, reported in 34 W.Va. 49, 11 S.E. 754. Defendants James E. Guffey and Michael Murphy filed their joint answer. Plaintiff then filed an amended and supplemental bill, alleging, among other things, that the writ of possession had been executed, and again filed his second amended bill, setting up the forfeiture of what is called the "Calvert Lease," the one under which Guffey and Murphy recovered the possession in the action of unlawful entry and detainer. On February 21, 1891, defendants Guffey and Murphy filed their joint answer to the amended and supplemental bill and the second amended bill, to which plaintiff replied generally. The bill was taken for confessed as to the other defendants, the exhibits were filed, and various depositions taken and filed, to which exceptions were taken. On the 15th day of April, 1891, the cause was finally heard, the injunction dissolved, and plaintiff's bill dismissed; and from this decree plaintiff, Hukill, appealed.

The facts as to which there is no dispute are as follows: What is called the "Mount Morris Oil Field" embraces a part of Monongalia county, W.Va. In this West Virginia part of this oil field David Wise is the owner in fee of the tract of 30 acres in controversy. For this 30-acre tract and a tract of 2 acres David Wise executed to William Hays an oil lease, dated 30th June, 1886, which was acknowledged 25th October, 1886, and admitted to record 26th October, 1886. On January 10, 1889, Hays, in consideration of $300, assigned this lease to plaintiff, Hukill. This assignment was admitted to record January 22, 1889. A copy of the aforesaid lease reads as follows:

"Exhibit A. Oil Lease. This lease, made this 30th day of June, A. D. 1886, by and between David Wise, of the county of Monongalia and state of West Virginia, of the first part, and William Hays, of Pennsylvania, of the second part, witnessed that the said party of the first part, in consideration of the stipulation, rents, and covenants hereinafter contained on the part of the said party of the second part, his executors, administrators, and assigns, to be paid, kept, and performed, hath granted, demised, and let unto the said parties of the second part, their executors, administrators, and assigns, for the sole and only purpose of developing, drilling for, and producing of petroleum or carbon oil, and for the laying of pipe, either under or on top of said surface, for transportation of the product of said development, all of that certain tract of land hereinafter described. It is further agreed that, if gas is obtained in sufficient quantities to utilize, the consideration in full to the party of the first part shall be twenty dollars per annum for each and every well drilled on the premises herein described, so long as the same is utilized, payable ***. This lease embraces all of that certain tract of land situated in Cass district, Monongalia county, and state of West Virginia, and bounded and described as follows, to wit: On the east by lands of C. C. Wade, on the north by lands of Abraham Snyder, on the west by lands of C. C. Wade, on the south by lands of David Wise, containing two acres, more or less. Also one other piece of land in same district and county, containing thirty acres, more or less. The parties of the second part shall pay all taxes arising from an increased valuation of the premises by reason of oil operation thereon. To have and to hold the said premises, for the said purpose only, unto the said parties of the second part, their executors, administrators, or assigns, for, during, and until the full term of twenty years next ensuing the day and year above written. The said party of the second part hereby covenants, in consideration of the said grant and demise, to deliver unto the said party of the first part, his heirs and assigns, the full equal one-eighth (1-8) part of petroleum or carbon oil discovered and produced on the premises herein leased as produced in the crude state, the said second parties to furnish tankage for the same until pipe line is provided. The said party of the first part is to fully use and enjoy the said premises for the purpose of tillage, except such part as shall be necessary for said development purposes, and a right of way over and across the said premises to the place or places of operating. The said party of the first part covenants to grant to the said party of the second part the right to remove any machinery or fixtures placed on said premises by said parties of second part. The parties of the second part covenant to commence operations for said purposes within nine months from and after the execution of this lease, or to thereafter, pay to the party of the first part $1.33 1/3 dollars per month until work is commenced, the money to be deposited in the hands of John Kennedy ;for each and every month; and a failure on the part of said second parties to comply with either one or the other of the foregoing conditions shall work an absolute forfeiture of this lease. In witness whereof we, the said parties of the first and second part, have hereunto set our hands and seals the day and year above written. DAVID WISE. [Seal.]
"State of West Virginia, Monongalia county--ss.: On this 25th day of October, 1886, before me, a justice of the peace in and for said county, personally appeared the above-named David Wise, and acknowledged the foregoing indenture to be his act and deed, and desired the same to be recorded as such. Witness my hand and seal the day and year aforesaid. W. P. BARKER, Justice.
"State of West Virginia--ss.: Be it remembered that on the 26th day of October, 1886, the foregoing writing was produced to me, Waitman T. Willey, clerk of the county court of Monongalia county, in my office, and, together with the certificate of acknowledgment thereof, was then and there admitted to record. Teste: WAITMAN T. WILLEY, Clerk."
"Exhibit B. Assignment. Know all men by these presents that I, William Hays, for and in consideration of the sum of three hundred dollars, to me in hand paid by E. M. Hukill, the
...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT