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Legal History

2012

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Bruce Ziff

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The Great Onyx Cave Cases -- A Micro-History, Bruce Ziff Mar 2012

The Great Onyx Cave Cases -- A Micro-History, Bruce Ziff

Bruce Ziff

Controversies surrounding property rights to the Great Onyx Cave in Kentucky have given rise to two legendary decisions with enduring legal importance. The first of these, Edwards v. Sims (1929), is a leading authority on the extent of ownership below the surface of land. The second, Edwards v. Lee's Administrator (1936), concerns the appropriate measure of damages for trespass. Stripped to essentials, the facts that led to these rulings are quite straightforward: E discovered a cave beneath his surface, which he developed into a thriving tourist attraction. However, it turns out that approximately one-third of the cave passes below ...