Professional, Practical Legal Advice Since 1931 Chardon Law Office 440.285.2242
Cleveland Law Office 216.255.5431

DORMANT MINERAL ACT UPDATE

Posted On: | Author: | |
image_pdfimage_print

In March and June of this year we provided updates regarding the Dormant Mineral Act, R.C. § 5301.56 (“DMA”) cases pending in the Ohio Supreme Court.  We noted in March that the Supreme Court had accepted two more cases to consider whether the DMA is self-executing, and to consider the required lookback period to determine if a severed mineral interest has been abandoned.    In June, we reported that the Supreme Court had accepted a total of nine cases regarding the interpretation of the DMA.

On June 18, 2015 the Supreme Court issued its first opinion in these DMA cases with its decision in Dodd v. Croskey, 2015-Ohio-2362.  The decision was favorable to the holders of severed mineral interests.  The Court held that under the DMA, the filing of a claim to preserve by the mineral interest holder will serve as a savings event if filed in the 20 years preceding the surface owner’s service of a notice of intent to cause abandonment.  In addition, even if the claim to preserve has not been filed in the 20 years preceding the service of the notice of abandonment, if the claim to preserve is filed within 60 days after service of the notice of abandonment, even if it does not refer to a savings event occurring in the preceding 20 years, this is sufficient to preclude the mineral interest from being deemed abandoned under the DMA.

On July 8, 2015, the Supreme Court agreed to review two more DMA cases, Albanese v. Batman, Case No. 2015-0120 and Lipperman v. Batman, Case No. 2015-0121.  In both cases, the Court accepted for consideration two propositions of law (and a third proposition regarding standing to challenge title to be heard in Lipperman) to determine (i) whether the 1989 DMA was prospective in nature and, if none of the saving events enumerated in the DMA occurred in a 20-year period immediately preceding any date in which the 1989 DMA was in effect, would this cause the severed oil and gas interest to be deemed abandoned and vested in the surface owner, and (ii) if the act of recording an out-of-state will constitutes a title transaction within the meaning of the DMA.  The Court ordered the first proposition stayed pending its decision in another DMA case, Walker v. Shondrick-Nau, Case No. 2014-0803, but did not stay briefing as to the second proposition.

After the decision in Dodd v. Croskey, 10 DMA cases remain pending before the Ohio Supreme Court.

If you are a landowner or a holder of severed mineral interests, please contact us if you have questions or legal issues regarding oil and gas rights, leasing enforceability, pipelines and eminent domain, all of which are now subject to more intense judicial review than at any time in the last century.  You may e-mail Dale Markowitz at dmarkowitz@tddlaw.com or call (440) 285-2242.