Bethlehem Steel Corp. v. Shonk Land Company

In Bethlehem Steel Corp. v. Shonk Land Company, 169 W. Va. 310, 288 S.E.2d 139 (1982), a landowner notified a coal company that was mining and processing coal on the landowner's property that the landowner considered the coal company to have forfeited its lease because of alleged noncompliance with various duties required by the lease. The coal company filed a declaratory judgment action to determine whether the lease was forfeited, and whether the lease could be renewed after its initial term expired. The Court stated in Shonk that the coal company "had held over its tenancy while this matter was in litigation." 169 W. Va. at 313, 288 S.E.2d at 141. The Court decided in Shonk that the lower court had erred in finding a forfeiture of the lease, because the landowner had known its rights under the lease but had stood by and not done anything to assert those rights.