Boone man says land was conveyed to coal company

By Harmon Marks | Jan 6, 2011

MADISON -- A Boone County man is in court claiming a coal company has been allowed on land he leased for business activities.

Joy Underwood wants a Boone Circuit Court jury to determine financial damages he suffered because property he paid to lease was conveyed to Massey Coal Services, Inc., while he continued his business activities. Mingo County residents Everett and Diann Hannah are named in the complaint, along with Massey.

Underwood relates that he leased land from the Hannahs situated in Boone, Kanawha and Lincoln counties in April 2003. He says terms included quarterly payments totaling $6,000 year, with renewal privilege for additional five-year terms. Underwood states he renewed the lease four times through 2007.

Complaint says Underwood "conducted various business enterprises upon the property, including ... hill climb and racing events involving motorcycles." He claims he spent more than $8,800 "in capital improvements and business expenses upon the property."

According to the plaintiff, a portion of his leased property was conveyed to Massey in November 2005 and the coal company "erected gates, altered the landscape, and refused to allow plaintiff access to his leasehold." Underwood contends he was not granted right of first refusal called for in his lease when property was conveyed to Massey.

His complaint demands that lessor reimburse the cost of capital improvements to said property and charges defendants have cost him loss of income from business activities there.

Underwood's attorney Timothy R. Conaway of Madison seeks joint and several damages "in an amount that is established by the trier of the facts" plus court costs.

The case has been assigned to Judge William S. Thompson.

Boone Circuit Court case number: 10-C-275

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