Longview Fibre Company et al. v. Montchalin, et al.

Quarry rocks are not minerals;
client’s adversaries don’t own them

Problem: George’s client, Longview Fibre Company, owned thousands of acres of timberland in Washington’s South Cascades that were subject to a mineral interest originally reserved by former owners. Some of the former owners’ descendants claimed that Longview’s decades-long quarrying of large amounts of common rock violated their mineral reservation, and damaged them in the sum of $60 million. Title companies would not give a report on who owned which mineral interests because of the complexity of the problem.

Solution: In typical fashion, George dug right into the details, becoming familiar with the land at issue, the historic quarrying, and the historic activities of the claimants. He developed extensive evidence that in the 1940s and 1950s the parties did not intend that common rock was part of the mineral reservation. At the same time, he closely investigated the complicated chain of title for the alleged mineral interests to prove that the claimants owned only a tiny fraction of what they claimed to own. Finally, he presented the results of the title examination to the claimants.

Soon after George’s presentation, the case settled for Longview, who purchasing the mineral reservations that claimants actually owned at favorable rates.

See the chain of title chart George developed that collapsed the Montchalin mineral claims.