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Millers Cove Energy Co. v. Moore (In re Millers Cove Energy Co.)

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

May 11, 1995, Argued ; August 10, 1995, Decided ; August 10, 1995, Filed

No. 94-5572

Opinion

 [***2]   [*156]  PER CURIAM. This matter is before the Sixth Circuit on plaintiffs-appellants, Millers Cove Energy Company, Inc., Darrell Barnwell, Hubert Barnwell, Judy Barnwell, Carolyn Petrey, Susan Kincaid, and Mt. Airy Farms (collectively referred to as "Millers Cove"), appeal from a district court decision affirming the conclusion of the bankruptcy court that the plaintiffs' complaint in an adversary proceeding should be dismissed. In that adversary  [*157]  proceeding, Millers Cove sought a determination that coal mining leases with the defendants, Ronald Moore, individually, Ark Land Company, and Ronald, Ruby, and Robert Moore, as co-executors of the last will and testament and estate of Royce Moore ("the Moores"), had been terminated by the Moores' alleged failure to abide by the terms of the leases. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings on damages.

 [**2] I.

In September 1975, Millers Cove's predecessors-in-interest leased the Moores approximately 7,000 acres of mineral lands in Virginia and Kentucky. Pursuant to the 40-year, renewable lease agreement, the Moores were to pay an annual minimum royalty fee of $ 50,000 for the mining rights on the lands. In addition, royalty payments of 75 cents per ton of coal mined were to be paid to the lessors, with the annual minimum royalty payments to be credited toward the per ton payment. Paragraph VII of the leases provided:

The Lessee agrees to promptly begin operations and carry on the coal operation with reasonable dispatch and in accordance with State and Federal mining laws. In the event of strikes, unfavorable weather conditions  [***3]  or any other cause beyond the cause of the Lessee, the Lessee shall be excused from carrying on the business until the aforesaid conditions have abated or until they should have been abated by the lessee.

Joint Appendix 130, 146 (emphasis added).

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62 F.3d 155 *; 1995 U.S. App. LEXIS 21461 **; 1995 FED App. 0245P (6th Cir.) ***

In re: MILLERS COVE ENERGY COMPANY, INC., Debtor. MILLERS COVE ENERGY COMPANY, INC., DARRELL BARNWELL, HUBERT BARNWELL, JUDY BARNWELL, CAROLYN PETREY, SUSAN KINCAID, and MT. AIRY FARMS, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. RONALD MOORE, ARK LAND COMPANY, and RONALD, RUBY, and ROBERT MOORE as Executors of the Estate of Royce Moore, Defendants-Appellees.

Subsequent History:  [**1]  Rehearing En Banc Denied September 26, 1995, Reported at: 1995 U.S. App. LEXIS 27550.

Prior History: ON APPEAL from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. District No. 93-00476. Thomas G. Hull, District Judge.

CORE TERMS

leases, bankruptcy court, economic feasibility, minimum royalty, district court, excused, mining, coal, amended order, sublease, vacated, Lessee

Bankruptcy Law, Judicial Review, Standards of Review, Clear Error Review, Civil Procedure, Appeals, Clearly Erroneous Review, Procedural Matters, General Overview, De Novo Standard of Review, De Novo Review, Energy & Utilities Law, Leases & Licenses, Force Majeure Clauses