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Georgia Code - Property - Title 44, Section 44-5-168

Legal Research Home > Georgia Laws > Appeals and Errors > Georgia Code - Property - Title 44, Section 44-5-168

(a) Whenever mineral rights are conveyed or whenever real property is conveyed in fee simple but the mineral rights to such property are reserved by the grantor, the owner of the real property in fee simple or his heirs or assigns may gain title to such mineral rights by adverse possession if the owner of the mineral rights or his heirs or assigns have neither worked nor attempted to work the mineral rights nor paid any taxes due on them for a period of seven years since the date of the conveyance and for seven years immediately preceding the filing of the petition provided for in subsection (b) of this Code section.

(b) In order to obtain absolute title to mineral rights in the circumstances described in subsection (a) of this Code section:

(1) The owner of the real property in fee simple or his heirs or assigns may file in the superior court for the county where the land is located a petition requesting relief in the nature of declaratory judgment. The petition:

(A) Shall contain all essential, required paragraphs, including jurisdiction;

(B) Shall contain the name and last known address of the grantor of the property reserving the mineral rights and the names and last known addresses of his heirs or assigns or any other person known by the plaintiff to have an interest in the mineral rights;

(C) Shall show:

(i) That the plaintiff or his predecessors in title were granted and obtained a deed for the property in question;

(ii) That the conveyance reserved mineral rights or that the plaintiff or his predecessors in title conveyed the mineral rights and reserved or retained the fee simple title to the real property; and

(iii) That, for a period of seven years preceding the filing of the petition after the conveyance, the owner of the mineral rights or his heirs or assigns have neither worked nor attempted to work the mineral rights nor paid taxes on them; and

(D) Shall include any and all prayers regarding the land that the plaintiff may desire. Specifically, the petition may pray that the court find that the plaintiff has obtained title to the mineral rights through adverse possession and that the plaintiff be granted title to mineral rights;

(2) Upon a finding in the plaintiff´s favor, the court shall issue a judgment and decree declaring that the mineral rights involved have been lost and that the plaintiff has gained absolute title to such mineral rights; and

(3) Service shall be perfected in the same manner as service on defendants in an in rem proceeding, including service by publication.

(c) Nothing in this Code section shall restrict the court from granting further plenary relief, whether legal or equitable; and the failure of the petition in the plaintiff´s favor shall not affect the right of the plaintiff to any other relief, legal or equitable, to which he may be entitled.

(d) Any person named in the petition or any person having an interest in the mineral rights shall have the right to intervene in a case brought under this Code section.

(e) In order to maintain the status quo pending the adjudication of the questions or to preserve equitable rights, the court may grant injunctions and other interlocutory extraordinary relief.

(f) Nothing in this Code section shall apply to a lease for a specific number of years nor to an owner of mineral rights who has leased the mineral rights in writing to a licensed mining operator as defined in Part 3 of Article 2 of Chapter 4 of Title 12.

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Last modified: May 3, 2006