Garlow v. Murphy

In Garlow v. Murphy, 111 W. Va. 611, 163 S.E. 436 (1932), a tract of land, called the Murphy tract, was jointly owned by four individuals. The land itself was valuable to the owners because it contained gas, oil and coal minerals. One co-owner, Estelle C. Davis, sought to have the Murphy tract partitioned in kind. Ms. Davis wanted to have the Murphy tract partitioned in kind so that she could obtain a specific portion of the property that was adjacent to a separate tract of coal land that she owned. Two co-owners, Delia B. Hoskinson and Michael G. Murphy, sought to have the land sold. The circuit court ordered the land be sold. The Court reversed the circuit court's ruling and ordered that the land be partitioned in kind. In doing so, the Court found as follows: The only reason given by the commissioners that a sale would promote all the interests was: "You couldn't divide them gas wells into eleven parts." That, of course, is no substantial reason, as sale of the oil and gas can be made independently of the disposition of the remainder of the tract