ARTICLE: A FRESH LOOK AT AN OLD TORT: LITIGATING SLANDER OF TITLE IN MINERAL DISPUTES Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2013 West Virginia Law Review
West Virginia Law Review

ARTICLE: A FRESH LOOK AT AN OLD TORT: LITIGATING SLANDER OF TITLE IN MINERAL DISPUTES

Spring, 2013

West Virginia Law Review

115 W. Va. L. Rev. 1097

Author

J. Zak Ritchie*

Excerpt



I. Introduction
 
Many decades have passed since courts in several western states first began to deal with the explosion of litigation resulting from equally frenzied oil and gas development in the region. Now, states in the Appalachian region of the eastern United States are rumbling with the sounds of new natural gas development triggered by the discovery of vast natural gas fields heretofore unknown or thought impossible to capture. Named for the geological stratum in which the prized gas is found, the Marcellus and Utica shale discoveries have triggered a modern-day "gold rush" involving modest landowners and large corporations alike. The literature is already bustling with scholarly activity focused on the implications of this newfound resource. 1

One aspect of mineral development to which the literature has paid surprisingly little attention is a cause of action called slander of title. 2 In West Virginia, slander of title is defined as the(1) publication of (2) a false statement (3) derogatory to plaintiff's title (4) with malice (5) causing special damages (6) as a result of diminished value in the eyes of third parties. 3 While the elements of the cause of action are not always expressed in a like way, the functional ingredients are nearly always the same. In most cases involving slander of title, a plaintiff's injury is alleged to have been caused by the wrongful assertion by another of an interest in the plaintiff's property. Often central to the suit, the wrongful assertion frequently comes in the form of ...
 
 
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