Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 45.1. Mines and Mining
8/22/2019

Article 1. Unknown Coal Owners.

§ 45.1-161.311:3. Petition to establish a trust for missing coal owners.

A. Any person or persons or lessee with greater than 50 percent interest in coal on a particular tract, who is seeking to impress a trust upon unknown or missing owners of such tract of coal, may petition the circuit court in the county or city containing the majority of the tract to establish a trust to protect the interests of all coal owners and lessees.

B. The petition shall:

1. List all known owners, missing owners and unknown interests and set forth the efforts to locate and identify the unknown or missing owners of the interests in the tract of coal and such other information known to the petitioner that may be helpful in identifying or locating the present owners thereof; and

2. Include the proposed terms of a lease to be offered to the trust, which lease shall be typical of other arm's-length leases in the area.

C. The petitioner shall establish to the satisfaction of the court that a diligent effort has been made to identify and locate the present owners of such interests.

2003, c. 775.

§ 45.1-161.311:4. Advertisement upon filing of petition.

Immediately upon filing of the petition, the petitioner shall advertise a notice of the pending action, including a statement that the action is brought for the purpose of impressing a trust authorizing the execution of a valid and present coal lease for the development of a tract of coal described in the petition. Such notice shall appear in a local newspaper of general circulation once a week for two consecutive weeks.

2003, c. 775.

§ 45.1-161.311:5. Court may declare trust; trustee sale of lease.

A. If, upon presentation to the circuit court of the petition, it appears to the court that development of the interests in the tract of coal will be advantageous to the unknown or missing owners, the court shall declare a trust in the coal interests, and shall appoint a trustee for such interests. The court shall authorize the trustee to execute a lease covering the coal interests in the identified tract of coal. The order of the court shall provide for all the terms and provisions of the lease that the trustee is authorized to make.

B. The trustee shall proceed in compliance with the provisions of the order to execute the lease, and after executing the lease shall submit a report thereof to the court.

C. The court shall not authorize a trustee's lease upon the coal interests of any owner whose identity and whereabouts is known, or can be ascertained, or is discovered as a result of the action brought under this article. Any such owner may intervene as a matter of right at any time prior to the judgment approving the trustee's lease, for the purpose of establishing his title to the coal interests. If the coal owner's claim is established to the satisfaction of the court, the court shall dismiss the action at plaintiff's cost.

2003, c. 775.

§ 45.1-161.311:6. (Effective October 1, 2019) Duty of trustee; sale of lease; distribution of funds.

A. The trustee shall collect the proceeds from the sale of the lease and hold and invest such proceeds for the use and benefit of the unknown or missing owners. The court may authorize the trustee to expend an amount not to exceed 10 percent of the funds collected by the trustee for the purpose of searching for the unknown or missing owners.

B. Five years after the date of first commercial production of the coal interests the proceeds in the trust shall be disposed of pursuant to the Virginia Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act (§ 55.1-2500 et seq.).

2003, c. 775.

§ 45.1-161.311:6. (Effective until October 1, 2019) Duty of trustee; sale of lease; distribution of funds.

A. The trustee shall collect the proceeds from the sale of the lease and hold and invest such proceeds for the use and benefit of the unknown or missing owners. The court may authorize the trustee to expend an amount not to exceed 10 percent of the funds collected by the trustee for the purpose of searching for the unknown or missing owners.

B. Five years after the date of first commercial production of the coal interests the proceeds in the trust shall be disposed of pursuant to the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act (§ 55-210.1 et seq.).

2003, c. 775.

§ 45.1-161.311:7. Payment of attorney's fees, expenses, and court costs.

All attorney's fees, expenses, and court costs incident to the original proceedings shall be paid by the lessee if a lease is executed, and by the plaintiff if for any reason no lease is executed. Subsequent to entry of judgment, all allowable fees, expenses, and court costs shall be paid out of funds controlled by the trustee.

2003, c. 775.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

The Virginia General Assembly is offering access to the Code of Virginia on the Internet as a service to the public. We are unable to assist users of this service with legal questions nor respond to requests for legal advice or the application of the law to specific facts. Therefore, to understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.

The Code of Virginia online database excludes material copyrighted by the publisher, Michie, a division of Matthew Bender. Copyrighted material includes annotations and revisors' notes, which may be found in the print version of the Code of Virginia. Annotated print copies of the Code of Virginia are available in most Virginia public library systems, from LexisNexis (1-800-446-3410), and from West, a Thomson-Reuters business (1-800-344-5008).