Consolidated Gas Supply Corp. v. Riley

In Consolidated Gas Supply Corp. v. Riley, 161 W. Va. 782, 247 S.E.2d 712 (1978), the Court discussed the 1939 amendments to W. Va. Code 37-4-1 (1939) which added the phrase " . . . of real property, including minerals and lessees of mineral rights other than lessees of oil and gas minerals . . . " to the statute governing partition of real property among tenants in common, joint tenants and coparceners of real property. Consolidated Gas, 161 W. Va. at 785-6, 247 S.E.2d at 714. Therein the Court noted that "while W. Va. Code, 37-4-1 is drawn in mandatory language if partition in kind is not feasible, this Court has never interpreted the statutory right to partition by sale as absolute." Id. at 786, at 714. Recognizing the 1939 amendment permits partition in kind of oil and gas interests, we held "that as a result of the 1939 amendment to W.Va. Code, 37-4-1, there is a statutory right to have partition in kind considered. This is an issue of fact since if the property cannot feasibly be partitioned in kind it is only then partition by sale can be considered." Id. at 790, at 716. The Court stated: "the narrow holding of Morley rests on the fact that there was no showing that any oil and gas existed under the property. However it appears the rule formulated by the Court was that if a co-owner in fee conveys his undivided interest to a third party in the underlying oil and gas, upon partition of the surface in kind his grantee of the oil and gas interest will be deemed to have his interest confined to the same surface area as his grantor."