On November 19, 2014, the Supreme Court of Ohio accepted the discretionary appeal of two companion cases involving the application of O.R.C. § 5301.56, Ohio’s Dormant Mineral Act (DMA): Swartz v. Householder 7th Dist. Jefferson No. 13 JE 24, 2014-Ohio 2359, and Shannon v. Householder, 7th Dist. Jefferson No. 13 JE 25, 2014-Ohio 2359. However, the Court ordered both cases stayed pending the court’s decision in Walker v. Shondrick-Nau, 7th Dist. Noble No. 13 NO 402, 2014-Ohio-1499, which involves the same issues. The issues before the court in Swartz and Shannon are 1. Whether the 1989 version of the DMA applies after the effective date of the 2006 version of the DMA; 2. Whether a surface owner must have taken some action prior to the effective date of the 2006 DMA to establish abandonment under the 1989 DMA; and 3. Whether the 2006 DMA operates retrospectively and applies to severed mineral rights created before its effective date.
With the addition of Swartz and Householder to the court’s docket, there are now six cases involving various aspects of the DMA’s application before the Supreme Court of Ohio. See Dodd v. Croskey; Chesapeake v Buell; Corban v. Chesapeake; Walker v. Shondrick-Nau. There is at least one appeal regarding the application of the DMA that has yet to be accepted for review. See Eisenbarth v. Reusser. Please do not hesitate to contact our team should you wish to further discuss the application of the DMA to your specific factual issue.
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.
Gregory W. Watts and Ian R. Hoke are attorneys at the law firm of Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty Co., L.P.A., in Canton. Feel free to contact either with oil and gas questions, or suggestions for topics, at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.