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Ohio Supreme Court Sides with Mineral Owners

by Elizabeth Alford on September 19, 2016

Ohio mineral owners don’t automatically lose their rights during times of inactivity, according to the state’s high court.

Related: New Ohio Law Favors Mineral Owners

The Ohio Supreme Court announced last week that they are siding with mineral rights holders in more than a dozen appeals dealing with the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (ODMA).  The ruling means that owners of mineral rights don’t automatically abandon their rights without surface owners following specific legal procedures.

In the lead case of Corban v. Chesapeake Exploration LLC, justices ruled that the current surface owner of about 165 acres was not entitled to compensation for minerals extracted by a company despite decades of inactivity at the site. The surface owner argued that the severed mineral interest automatically vested in him under the 1989 ODMA before the 2006 amendments, and therefore the notice requirements do not apply to his claim.  The company countered that the 2006 amendments to the ODMA should apply because they were in effect at the time the surface owner brought suit in 2013.

Details of the ruling include:

  1. The 1989 version of the DMA is not self-executing, and, therefore, did not cause ownership of mineral rights to automatically transfer to the owner of the surface rights;
  2. Because the 1989 DMA is not self-executing, a surface owner must bring a quiet title action to obtain a judicial decree that a mineral interest has been abandoned and is merged with the surface estate pursuant to the 1989 DMA; and
  3. The 2006 DMA, and not the 1989 DMA, applies to all claims asserted after June 30, 2006, the effective date of the 2006 amendments to the statute.

Read more at natlawreview.com

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