Client Alert: New Dormant Mineral Act Cases Headed to the Ohio Supreme Court

Pittsburgh Office, 07/08/2015

On July 8, 2015, the Ohio Supreme Court accepted appeals in two additional cases involving the state’s Dormant Mineral Act, Albanese v. Batman, 2015-0120, and Lipperman v. Batman, 2015-0121. Both cases involve the lookback period under the 1989 version of the Dormant Mineral Act, and question whether the recording of an out-of-state will can serve as a title transaction.

 Specifically, the court has granted an appeal on the following propositions:
 
  • The 1989 Dormant Mineral Act was prospective in nature and operated to have a severed oil and gas interest deemed abandoned and vested in the surface owner if none of the savings events enumerated in O.R.C. § 5301.56(B) occurred in the 20-year period immediately preceding any date on which the 1989 Dormant Mineral Act was in effect; and
  • The act of recording an out-of-state will is not a title transaction.
The first proposition will be held pending the outcome in the case of Walker v. Shondrick-Nau, 2014-0803, which was accepted for appeal by the Supreme Court on Sept. 3, 2014.  Oral arguments were held in Walker on June 23, 2015.  As to the second proposition, the parties are to begin briefing the issue for the Supreme Court.

In Lipperman, the court also accepted the appeal on the following issue: “XTO Energy, Inc. and Phillips Exploration, Inc. have no standing to appear in this case.”  This issue stems from a Release of Lease recorded by XTO and Phillips on Sept. 3, 2014, whereby both parties released their interest in the lease.  This issue is also to be briefed for the court.

The Ohio Real Estate Practice Group at Burleson LLP is available to answer your questions and counsel you as to the complexity of Ohio’s Dormant Mineral Act and other recent court decisions.  Please contact either Michael Brewster, Senior Counsel, or Kristin McCormish, Senior Counsel, at (724) 746-6644.

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