The Ohio Supreme Court heard Oral Arguments in the fourth case involving Ohio’s Dormant Mineral Act, O.R.C. § 5301.56: John Walker, Jr. v. Patricia J. Shondrick-Nau, 2014-0803.
The issues accepted for argument in Walker were the following:
- The 2006 version of the DMA is the only version of the DMA to be applied after June 30, 2006, the effective date of a said statute;
- To establish a mineral interest as “deemed abandoned” under the 1989 version of the DMA, the surface owner must have taken some action to establish abandonment prior to June 30, 2006. In all cases where a surface owner failed to take such action, only the 2006 version of the DMA can be used to obtain relief;
- To the extent the 1898 version of the DMA remains applicable, the 20-year look-back period shall be calculated starting on the date a complaint is filed which first raises a claim under the 1989 version of the DMA;
- For purposes of R.C. 5301.56(B)(3), a severed oil and gas mineral interest is the “subject of” any title transaction which specifically identifies the recorded document creating that interest by volume and page number, regardless of whether the severed mineral interest is actually transferred or reserved;
- Irrespective of the savings events in R.C. 5301.56(B)(3), the limitations in R.C. 5301.49 can separately bar a claim under the DMA; and
- The 2006 version of the DMA applies retroactively to severed mineral interests created prior to its effective date.
Further analysis of the appellate court decision in Walker may be found here. Additional analysis of other Dormant Mineral Act litigation may be found here.
NOTE: This general summary of the law should not be used to solve individual problems since slight changes in the fact situation may require a material variance in the applicable legal advice.
If you have any questions concerning the application of Ohio’s Dormant Mineral Act, please contact Attorney Gregory W. Watts at 330-497-0700.