Coal Mine Voids: The Pitched Battle for Ownership of Virginia's Deep, Dark Depths

On April 16, 2015, the Virginia Supreme Court exercised its power under the Virginia Constitution, and its own Rule 5:40(a), to answer two certified questions posed by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. See Bailey v. Spangler, 2015 Va. LEXIS 52, Record No. 141702 (April 16, 2015). The U.S. District Court’s questions related to the correct interpretation of Va. Code §55-154.2(A), and the legal implications of that interpretation. That statute, located among other Virginia laws enacted to address “clouds on title” to real property interests, is entitled, “Presumption regarding estate of owner of mineral rights.” In effect, the law deals with ownership of

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