Trustees of Tufts College v. Triple R. Ranch, Inc., Nos. 41535

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtROBERTS; CARLTON, C.J., DEKLE, J., and MELVIN; ERVIN; BOYD, J., dissents and agrees with ERVIN; ERVIN; BOYD
Citation275 So.2d 521
PartiesTRUSTEES OF TUFTS COLLEGE, Appellant, v. TRIPLE R. RANCH, INC., Appellee. COMPASS ROSE CORPORATION, Appellant, v. TRIPLE R. RANCH, INC., Appellee. TRIPLE R. RANCH, INC., Appellant, v. COMPASS ROSE CORPORATION, and Trustees of Tufts College, Appellee.
Decision Date21 March 1973
Docket NumberNos. 41535,41534 and 41534--A

Page 521

275 So.2d 521
TRUSTEES OF TUFTS COLLEGE, Appellant,
v.
TRIPLE R. RANCH, INC., Appellee.
COMPASS ROSE CORPORATION, Appellant,
v.
TRIPLE R. RANCH, INC., Appellee.
TRIPLE R. RANCH, INC., Appellant,
v.
COMPASS ROSE CORPORATION, and Trustees of Tufts College, Appellee.
Nos. 41535, 41534 and 41534--A.
Supreme Court of Florida.
March 21, 1973.

Page 522

Max F. Morris of Helliwell, Melrose & DeWolf, Orlando, for Trustees of Tufts College, appellant-appellee.

A. Duane Bergstrom and W. Scott Gabrielson, of Rush, Marshall, Bergstrom & Robison, Orlando, for Compass Rose Corp., appellant-appellee.

Russell W. Layton, Orlando, for Triple R. Ranch, Inc., appellee-appellant.

Thomas A. Clark, of Carlton, Fields, Ward, Emmanuel, Smith & Cutler, Tampa, for Humble Oil & Refining Co., amicus curiae.

ROBERTS, Justice.

This cause reaches us on two interlocutory appeals and a certificate of the trial court which poses as dispositive of the litigation two questions raising the constitutionality of Florida Statute, Section 704.05, F.S.A. and, if constitutional, whether it operates retrospectively or prospectively.

By warrnty deed dated December 8, 1943, recorded on December 23, 1943, in Deed Book 107, page 564, Public Records of Osceola County, Florida, appellant, Trustees of Tufts College, conveyed to Irlo Bronson and Flora B. Bronson, his wife, the fee simple title in and to certain described real property, together with the right to use said property for agriculture, horticulture, grazing, working trees for turpentine, cutting and removing timber and wood, and such other uses as the surface may be put to. The deed contained the following language and reservations;

'. . . subject, however, to the rights of Sun Oil Company under its

Page 523

lease hereinafter mentioned and those of the grant or or any future lessee or vendee of the minerals, oil, petroleum products and gas under the surface as saved, reserved and excepted in the following paragraph, and the rights of others to which this conveyance is made subject, saving, reserving and excepting out of the grant herein made all the minerals, oil, petroleum products and gas under the surface of the said premises with power for the Grantor, its successors and assigns, to take all usual, necessary or convenient means for working, getting, laying up, dressing, making merchantable, taking away and marketing said minerals, oil, petroleum products and gas and for the said purposes and for any other purposes in connection with the said reservations and exceptions, to make and repair tunnels and sewers and to lay, maintain, and repair pipes to convey water, oil, petroleum products and gas to and from any manufactory, tank, storage building or receptacle, or other building or structure; to investigate, explore, prospect, drill and mine for and produce oil, gas and all other minerals; to erect and maintain telephone and telegraph lines, power stations and other structures thereon convenient for producing, saving, taking care of, treating, storing, transporting and manufacturing said minerals, oil, petroleum products and gas and the housing of employees, and further saving and reserving the right to use water and gas from the said lands in operating the same and rights of ways over the same for ingress and egress and to go from place to place on the said premises for the purpose of such investigating, exploring, prospecting, drilling and mining for and producing oil, petroleum products, gas and all other minerals, on foot, with or without vehicles and animals, and to construct, erect and maintain and use all such railroads, tramroads and other roads, privileges and culverts as may, in the judgment of the Grantor, its successors or assigns, be necessary or convenient to carry on the operation and use to the fullest the reservations and exceptions herein contained; to remove, either during the term of such operation, or any of them, or at any time thereafter, any property, buildings or improvements placed on or in the said lands by the Grantor, its successors or assigns.'

The Bronsons conveyed the land by warranty deed dated August 31, 1944, and recorded December 2, 1944, to H. E. Brown, subject to all of the exceptions, conditions and reservations as set forth in the deed from the College. H. E. Brown, joined by his wife, conveyed to Jerry Brown and Buster Brown by warranty deed dated December 4, 1956, recorded December 15, 1956, who in turn conveyed by warranty deed dated December 30, 1963, to James Rooney. By Quitclaim deed dated January 29, 1964, recorded on the same date, Rooney conveyed, subject to the reservations, to Triple R. Ranch, Inc.

The Trustees of Tufts College by instrument dated December 28, 1965, recorded January 10, 1966, conveyed Paul Helliwell an undivided one-half interest in and to all of the Minerals, oil, petroleum products, and Gas in and under the surface of and which may be produced from said real property, together with 100% Of all rights of ingress, egress, exploration and each and every other right or privilege of any sort or nature reserved and excepted to the Trustees of Tufts College by virtue of the warranty deed from the Trustees to the Bronsons. Helliwell subsequently by instrument dated October 23, 1967, conveyed to Compass Rose Corporation all of the right, title and interest to mineral rights and other privileges conveyed by Trustees of Tufts College to Helliwell. The controversy in the instant action arose from the enactment of Section 704.05, Florida Statutes, F.S.A.

During the 1970 Legislative session, the Florida Legislature promulgated Chapter 70--100, now carried forward as Section 704.05, Florida Statutes, F.S.A. the construction

Page 524

and constitutionality vel non of which are presently at issue before us in this cause. F.S. Section 704.05, F.S.A., which became effective October 1, 1970, provides:

'704.05 Easements and rights of entry.--

(1) The rights of entry, or of an easement, given or reserved in any conveyance or devise of realty, when given or reserved for the purpose of mining, drilling, exploring, or developing, Shall be limited to a twenty (20) year period beginning with the recording of such conveyance or devise if such rights are not exercised during this twenty (20) year period.

(2) After the twenty (20) year period has expired, the owner of such property may file a suit in the circuit court of the county in which the property is located, and upon such procedure as used in quieting title the court shall, upon proof of the nonexercise of such rights and the expiration of the twenty (20) year limitation, enter a decree forever clearing and confirming the removal of said rights from the title to the said real estate.'

On November 30, 1970, Triple R. Ranch filed suit in Osceola County Circuit Court against Tufts College and Compass Rose alleging that by virtue of Section 704.05, it, the appellee, was entitled to the entry of a decree forever clearing and confirming the removal of the aforesaid rights of entry and easements as encumbrances on their title. In opposition, the appellants contended that the statute in question was unconstitutional, and appellants moved for dismissal and for judgment on the pleadings, which motions were denied. Subsequently, appellants separately sought interlocutory appeals to this Court.

1. Should Section 704.05 be applied retrospectively?

2. If applicable, is Section 704.05 constitutional under the Florida and United States Constitutions?

All three matters are consolidated here for disposition. This Court has jurisdiction of this cause, Article V, Section 3(b)(1), Florida Constitution 1973, F.S.A., F.A.R. 4.6, 32 F.S.A. Jaworski v. The City of Opa-Locka, 149 So.2d 33 (Fla.1963).

If Section 704.05, Florida Statutes, F.S.A., is not to be applied retroactively then it will be unnecessary for us to resolve the second question since the statute will not be applicable to the facts of the instant case.

We find that the statute in question should not have retrospective application.

Historically, courts have indulged in the presumption that the Legislature intended a statute to have prospective effect only. The bias against retroactive legislation is deeply rooted in the Anglo-American law. 1 Coke established the maxim, 'Nova constitutio furturis forman imponere debet non praeteritas'. (A new state of law ought to affect the future, not the past). Blackstone wrote that it was a matter of justice that statutes should operate in futuro. 2 A statute will be construed as prospective only unless the intention of the Legislature to give it a retroactive effect is expressed in language to clear and explicit to admit of reasonable doubt. 3 This Court in In

Page 525

Re Seven Barrels of Wine, 79 Fla. 1, 83 So. 627, 631, 632 (1920), set out the following vitally important principle:

'A statute is not to be given a retrospective effect unless its terms show clearly that such an effect was intended (citations omitted).'

'The rule that statutes are not to be construed retrospectively unless such construction was plainly intended by the Legislature applies with peculiar force to those statutes the retrospective operation of which would impair or destroy vested rights (citations omitted).'

'A statute should not, by construction, be given a retrospective effect when it would jeopardize the validity of the statute, or when it would make its application conflict with organic law. See McCarthy v. Havis, supra; St. Louis & S.F.R. Co. v. Cross (C.C.) 171 F. 480; Graves v. Dunlap, 87 Wash. 648, 152 P. 532, L.R.A.1916C, 338, Ann.Cas.1917B, 944.'

'A statute should not be so construed or applied as to make it conflict with organic law, when a construction or application conformable to the Constitution is practicable and the legislative intent is not thereby thwarted, since it must be assumed that the Legislature contemplated the enactment of a law that would conform to the Constitution, and that it...

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  • In re Am. Suzuki Motor Corp., No. 8:12–bk–22808–SC.
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Ninth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Central District of California
    • 4 Junio 2013
    ...no other constitutional analysis is necessary with respect to existing contracts. See Trustees of Tufts College v. Triple R. Ranch, Inc., 275 So.2d 521 (Fla.1973); In re Seven Barrels of Wine, 79 Fla. 1, 83 So. 627 (1920). The same analysis is used to determine whether amendments to existin......
  • In re Am. Suzuki Motor Corp., Case No.: 8:12-bk-22808-SC
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Ninth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Central District of California
    • 3 Junio 2013
    ...no other constitutional analysis is necessary with respect to existing contracts. See Trustees of Tufts College v. Triple R. Ranch, Inc., 275 So.2d 521 (Fla. 1973); In re Seven Barrels of Wine, 79 Fla. 1, 83 So. 627 (1920). The same analysis is used to determine whether amendments to existi......
  • Harvey v. Sines, No. 0691, Sept. Term, 2015.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • 2 Junio 2016
    ...preserve their interests via a grace period or a notice of intent to use. See Trustees of Tufts Coll. v. Triple R. Ranch, Inc., 275 So.2d 521 (Fla.1973). Regarding the Harveys' contention that the statute constitutes a taking without compensation under Article III, Section 40 of the Marylan......
  • Fitchner v. Lifesouth Cmty. Blood Ctrs., Inc., No. 1D10–2019.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 30 Mayo 2012
    ...in language that is “too clear and explicit to admit of reasonable doubt.” See Trustees of Tufts College v. Triple R. Ranch, Inc., 275 So.2d 521, 524 (Fla.1973); see also Foley v. Morris, 339 So.2d 215, 216–17 (Fla.1976). The part of the legislation that addresses the intended application o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
30 cases
  • In re Am. Suzuki Motor Corp., No. 8:12–bk–22808–SC.
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Ninth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Central District of California
    • 4 Junio 2013
    ...no other constitutional analysis is necessary with respect to existing contracts. See Trustees of Tufts College v. Triple R. Ranch, Inc., 275 So.2d 521 (Fla.1973); In re Seven Barrels of Wine, 79 Fla. 1, 83 So. 627 (1920). The same analysis is used to determine whether amendments to existin......
  • In re Am. Suzuki Motor Corp., Case No.: 8:12-bk-22808-SC
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Ninth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Central District of California
    • 3 Junio 2013
    ...no other constitutional analysis is necessary with respect to existing contracts. See Trustees of Tufts College v. Triple R. Ranch, Inc., 275 So.2d 521 (Fla. 1973); In re Seven Barrels of Wine, 79 Fla. 1, 83 So. 627 (1920). The same analysis is used to determine whether amendments to existi......
  • Harvey v. Sines, No. 0691, Sept. Term, 2015.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • 2 Junio 2016
    ...preserve their interests via a grace period or a notice of intent to use. See Trustees of Tufts Coll. v. Triple R. Ranch, Inc., 275 So.2d 521 (Fla.1973). Regarding the Harveys' contention that the statute constitutes a taking without compensation under Article III, Section 40 of the Marylan......
  • Fitchner v. Lifesouth Cmty. Blood Ctrs., Inc., No. 1D10–2019.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 30 Mayo 2012
    ...in language that is “too clear and explicit to admit of reasonable doubt.” See Trustees of Tufts College v. Triple R. Ranch, Inc., 275 So.2d 521, 524 (Fla.1973); see also Foley v. Morris, 339 So.2d 215, 216–17 (Fla.1976). The part of the legislation that addresses the intended application o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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