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Failoni v. Chicago & North Western Railway Co

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Citation. 22 Ill.30 Ill. 2d 258, 195 N.E.2d 619 (1964)

Brief Fact Summary. In this case, according to record title, the surface interest to land was held by the Plaintiff, Failoni (Plaintiff), and the mineral interest was held by the Defendant, Chicago & North Western Railway Co. (Defendant). The Plaintiff contended that because the conveyances in her chain of title did not except the mineral interest, she acquired color of title to the mineral interest which had ripened into fee ownership under a statute which provided that if a person having color of title paid all taxes legally assessed on the property for seven consecutive years the payor of such taxes will be adjudged to be the owner of the unoccupied and vacant land, which the payor holds under color of title.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Although deeds may in certain instances provide color of title, they do not in and of themselves operate as adverse possession, or even notice thereof where the severance of the mineral and surface estates was prior to the deed providing such color of title.


Facts. In this case, according to record title, the surface interest to land was held by Plaintiff and the mineral interest was held by Defendant. The Plaintiff contended that because the conveyances in her chain of title did not except the mineral interest she acquired color of title to the mineral interest, which had ripened into fee ownership under a statute, which provided that if a person having color of title paid all taxes legally assessed on the property for seven consecutive years the payor of such taxes will be adjudged to be the owner of the unoccupied and vacant land which the payor holds under color of title. The lower court found that the title to the mineral rights, except for coal, was owned in fee by the surface owner, the Plaintiff. The Defendant appealed.

Issue. Did Plaintiff acquire the fee ownership of both the surface and the mineral rights under the statute?
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