United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
JUSTIN D. THOMAS and IRENE S. THOMAS, Plaintiffs/Counterdefendants,
CARMEUSE LIME & STONE, INC., and O-N MINERALS CHEMSTONE COMPANY, Defendants/Crossclaim Defendants,
BARBARA SILVIA HELMS, Intervenor Defendant/ Counterclaimant/Crossclaimant.
E. Conrad Chief United States District Judge
case concerns a dispute between plaintiffs Justin D. Thomas
and Irene S. Thomas (together, the "Thomases") and
defendants Carmeuse Lime & Stone, Inc. and O-N Minerals
(collectively, "Carmeuse") regarding the
parties' respective rights to the property at issue (the
"Property"). The matter is presently before the
court on defendants' second motion for summary judgment.
For the reasons set forth below, the motion will be denied.
court has expounded on the facts of the instant matter at
length in its previous memorandum opinion. See Thomas v.
Carmeuse Lime & Stone, Inc., 86 F.Supp.3d 490,
492-95 (W.D. Va. 2015). The Property is part of a 200-acre
parcel that was owned by G.B.W. Reynolds
("Reynolds") in the mid-eighteenth century.
Reynolds conveyed ownership of the limestone and other
minerals on his property to John S. Wilson
("Wilson") in 1849 (the "1849 Deed").
This conveyance created two estates: a mineral estate owned
by Wilson and a surface estate owned by Reynolds. The 1849
Deed grants a number of rights related to quarrying and
reserves certain protections. Specifically, the deed conveys
[A]ll the stone or rock of every kind, and particularly all
the limestone, or quarries of limestone or other kinds of
stone, in and upon any and every portion of said
Reynolds' own land which was owned by him at the date of
Docket No. 1-1. The deed also grants to the owner of the
mineral estate certain rights of access over the surface
estate (the "Access Provision"). The Access
[T]he privilege to said [grantee], his heirs or assigns, of
free ingress, egress, and regress, at all times, to enter and
quarry, and take the same away or to construct kilns and burn
the same into lime, on the said Reynolds' own land, as
owned by him at the date of said agreement.
Id. Almost immediately thereafter, the deed states,
"But this portion of the contract and conveyance is
subject to the following limitations or qualifications."
Id. The 1849 Deed then lists several
"limitations." Most notably for the instant matter,
the 1849 Deed contains the following restriction (the
Reynolds did by  agreement, sell . . . under certain
qualifications, and subject to certain privileges therein
expressed, all the stone and rock upon every portion of his
own land ... together with certain rights of way over his the
said Reynolds' own land .... [I]t is also agreed and
understood between the parties, that the said Wilson, his
heirs or assigns, is not to blast, or quarry, or take away,
any stone within the inclosure of the yard attached to the
said Reynolds' present dwelling house; this provision
being inserted to protect the family of the said Reynolds and
of his heirs or assigns, or other persons who may be in the
occupancy of the house[, ] from annoyance.
northwestern portion of the Property is an old stone house,
which, according to one of plaintiffs' experts, "is
an excellent, and rare, example of 18th century colonial
American architecture." Report of Daniel B. Thorp,
Docket. No. 168-3 at 2. Although plaintiffs purchased the
surface estate in 2002, they have never lived in the house,
no one currently resides in the house, and it has apparently
not been occupied since 1999. There is no plumbing or sewage,
only an outhouse. Although the house was wired for
electricity when the Thomases purchased it, the house does
not currently have electricity. Additionally, under current
zoning regulations, the house cannot be occupied. Dep. of
Justin Thomas at 5, 29-30, 41, 46, 146.
Thomases' chain of title includes a deed from 1854 in
which Reynolds granted his surface estate to his wife. This
deed describes the land granted as "two hundred acres of
the tract of land, on which [Reynolds] now reside[s], with
the mansion house." Supplemental Report of Daniel B.
Thorp, Docket No. 168-4 at 1. An 1876 court-ordered
surveyor's plat describes the land as that part
"laid off. . . to the widow [of Reynolds]." Docket
No. 168-8. The surveyor's plat also states that the land
conveyed "includes the stone house." Id.
1864, the Confederate Engineering Bureau commissioned a map
of Botetourt County (the "Confederate Map"). The
map denotes with a square marking several structures on the
Property. See Docket No. 168-12. There is one square that is
labeled "cabin" and is at the location of the
present-day stone house. A second square is on the eastern
side of Rocky Point Road. Id. On the map's
legend, the squares used to mark these structures are defined
as "dwellings." Id.
Thomases filed the instant action seeking injunctive and
declaratory relief in an effort to prevent Carmeuse from core
drilling and extracting limestone from the Property, which is
adjacent to a quarry owned by Carmeuse. On January 31,
2014, Thomas M. Helms, Sr. was granted leave to intervene,
and he subsequently asserted both a counterclaim against
plaintiffs and a crossclaim against Carmeuse. All parties moved
for summary judgment or partial summary judgment.
time, there were four main disputes. First, the parties
disputed the meaning and consequences of the Yard
Restriction. Second, the parties disputed who owns the
mineral estate. Carmeuse and Helms believed that certain
twentieth-century conveyances granted them ownership of the
entire underlying mineral estate. The Thomases asserted that
the twentieth century deeds reverted a portion of the mineral
estate back to the original owner, Reynolds, and therefore,
by the chain of title, to the Thomases. Third, Carmeuse and
Helms disputed how much of the underlying ...