Oral arg. – COA- Nov. 18, 2015

At 1:30 the Court will hear the case of Michael and Amy Ward v. Carolyn Harrell.   The two sides in this case both claim to own the mineral rights to a five acre parcel in Madison.

The parcel was conveyed to James L. Harrell and his first wife, Elizabeth Harrell, as joint tenants in 1969.  Elizabeth Harrell died in 1978  leaving James L. Harrell as the sole owner of the land.  In 1979 Harrell deeded the land to  L.L. Martin and his wife, Cherry.  The deed contains the usual language  but when it comes to mineral rights its states “Grantee herein retains all mineral rights to said land and property.”  (Typically, only the grantor retains rights). Harrell sought a  reformation of the deed so that two words in the deed will be altered to say that “Grantor” “ reserves” all mineral rights.  Ward  seeks an interpretation of the same language which would adopt the plain meaning of “Grantee…retains” so that Grantee, Martin, would retain the minerals.  The chancellor found for Harrell. The Wards appealed.

The Wards’ brief

Harrell’s brief

The Wards’ rebuttal brief 

Watch the argument here

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