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Constitutional Law Keyed to Stone
Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
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*Case Brief Anatomy includes: Brief Prologue, Complete Case Brief, Brief Epilogue
- The Brief Prologue provides necessary case brief introductory information and includes:
- Topic: Identifies the topic of law and where this case fits within your course outline.
- Parties: Identifies the cast of characters involved in the case.
- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
- Case Key Terms, Acts, Doctrines, etc.: A case specific Legal Term Dictionary.
- Case Doctrines, Acts, Statutes, Amendments and Treatises: Identifies and Defines Legal Authority used in this case.
- The Case Brief is the complete case summarized and authored in the traditional Law School I.R.A.C. format. The Pro case brief includes:
- Brief Facts: A Synopsis of the Facts of the case.
- Rule of Law: Identifies the Legal Principle the Court used in deciding the case.
- Facts: What are the factual circumstances that gave rise to the civil or criminal case? What is the relationship of the Parties that are involved in the case. Review the Facts of this case here:
The Pennsylvania Kohler Act (the “Act”) forbade the mining of coal in such a way as to cause land used for human habitation to sink. Prior to the enactment of the Act, the Pennsylvania Coal Company (“Defendant”) was mining underneath Plaintiff’s house thereby causing his house and the surface underneath it to subside. Defendant was mining pursuant to a contract entered into by the parties, conveying the surface of the land to Plaintiff but the right to remove all of the coal underneath the same to the Defendant. Plaintiff alleged that the Act applied to contracts executed before the Act’s enactment and thus barred Defendant from exercising its mining rights under its contract. The Plaintiff sued the Coal Co. to prevent the mining of coal under the Plaintiff’s house in such a way as to remove the supports and cause the house to subsist. The Plaintiff contends that whatever the Defendant’s rights were with respect to the coal underneath the surface, the Kohler Act has taken Defe ndant’s rights away. The lower state court found that the Kohler Act was not constitutional as applied to this Defendant even though the potential injury claimed by Plaintiff is the type of injury the Kohler Act seeks to prevent. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court found that the Defendant did have contract and property rights which were protected by the Constitution of the United States, but held that the Kohler Act was constitutional as a legitimate exercise of the police power by the state and directed a decree for Plaintiff. Defendant appealed.
- Issue(s): Lists the Questions of Law that are raised by the Facts of the case.
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- The Brief Prologue closes the case brief with important forward-looking discussion and includes:
- Policy: Identifies the Policy if any that has been established by the case.
- Court Direction: Shares where the Court went from here for this case.