Just saw this new case concerning the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act
Wendt v Dickerson
It seems like any mineral reservation made before 1986, that did not have a saving event, is automatically abandoned. The minerals would then be reunited with the surface.
I've uploaded the court filings for the case. I know several surface owners who have used the Ohio Dormant Mineral Title Act to reclaim the minerals that were severed from the surface earlier. If nothing has been done with the minerals for 20 years (no "saving events") this is possible. What some people don't realize is that there are actually two ODMTAs in Ohio's history, and depending on when the minerals were severed, they may fall under one or the other.
The first ODMTA was passed in 1989, and says that anyone who owns mineral rights will have automatically abandoned those rights if no saving events have occurred within the prior 20 years. (A saving event could be a lease, or production, or things like assignment of a tax parcel for the minerals, or a title transaction that specifically references the minerals.) These abandoned minerals become vested in the surface owner automatically, without any paperwork filing at all.
The second ODMTA was passed in 2006, and it changed the automatic aspect of the abandonment. It says that in order to reunite the minerals with the surface that the mineral owner must be notified first. The 20-year look-back period then starts counting back from the date the notice of abandonment is delivered. Upon receiving notification, the mineral owner can file an Affidavit of Preservation to keep their mineral interest, even if nothing has happened with the minerals for more than 20 years.
The Wendts argued that since the minerals on their property were severed and then lay dormant for more than 20 years, and this look-back period occured prior to the 2006 Act, that the 1989 would have applied, and that the minerals were vested back with the surface automatically. The judge agreed with this argument, and even though the Dickersons had signed a lease for gas drilling, the judge declared it null and void since they were not the rightful mineral owners.
This precedent-setting verdict may affect tens of thousands of landowners in Ohio. It may apply to the cases of the Buell Well and the Jewett Sportsmans's Club.
Jay: Do you not see some due process problems with the act? Why should someone who bought property knowing or having reason to know by title examination that the mineral estate was not included have the right to reacquire said mineral estate without compensation to the owners of said estate? I probably am missing something? Others may have the same "dumb question" as I do. Perhaps you could post a link to the text of the act? That might fully resolve my due process question!
The due process happened with the three year grace period.
Read the original statute here -
This was upheld by Texaco v Short in the US Supreme Court.
M. Thomas: You did everyone a service by posting the link to text of the act. I understand Jay's and others comments far better now that I have had the opportunity to read the statute, which has a number of protections without which my due process objections would have been sensible. Jay you have a, sharp tongue at times but I think some of your insults (which by the way bother me not at all) may well cause offense to some readers with finer manners and sensibilities! It may also cause some readers to dismiss many of your otherwise valuable opinions and observations. Had I known how to find the statute, I would have read it carefully before posting! Having read it, I understand that there is no real due process issue. M. Thomas, I again thank you for posting the link to the statute.
I am certain you would not in a courtroom refer to a witness, another lawyer, or even a judge as a baboon. If you said something like that in the courtroom, you might find yourself in contempt and find your butt sitting in the slammer for 30 days. If any of the above individuals happened to be Afro-American, you might find that your law firm might decide that your services were no longer needed. You might not even find employment flipping burgers at McDonalds!.
Well said. Some people go through life searching for a reason to be offended or be a victim.
Yes, that's the idea that I was trying to convey. If anyone is unsure if they have a saving event in their mineral title history (and especially if knowing that could determine mineral title ownership) I would recommend getting a good legal opinion by a law firm very familiar with these precedent mineral rights cases.
I'm unsure whether precedent-setting is a the correct nomenclature. The court has essentially no analysis in arriving at its decision. My understanding is that most attorneys and title examiners familiar with the case believe that it will be overturned on appeal. See Dodd v Croskey for a more succinct (and correct) analysis of the issues, save the 1989 issue, which, most agree is no longer applicable since it was repealed and amended.
Take a look at Wendt v Dickerson. Dodd v Croskey is concerned with the 2006 version of the statute.
Wendt v Dickerson is a different case looking at the effects of the original statute, which the 2006 statute did not overturn.
Can you point me to a copy of Dodd v Croskey?
I SIGNED WITH CHESAPEAKE OVER A YEAR AGO; WHEN I RECEIVED MY CHECK, THEY WERE SHORT $49K IN PAYING FOR MY ENTIRE ACREAGE.. THEY SO MUCH AS SCOFFED AT MY REQUESTS FOR PAYMENT!! I THEN HIRED AN ATTORNEY, AND FOR OVER TEN MONTHS HE THREATENED AND CAJOLED THEM, BUT WAS UNSUCCESSFUL IN COLLECTING THE MONEY THAT I HAD BEEN SHORTED..
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A friend of mine has this issue:
What do you guys think of this Ohio scenario?
Chain of title shows Minerals on parcel reserved in approx year 1900. No record shows mineral interest reunited with any surface owner.
in 1970 Oil and gas production lease signed by previous owners/tenants of parcel that is still held by production /HBP from shallow well.
Current surface owner recognizes the discrepancy while exploring possibilities to lease the deep rights. Can the ODMA help current reclaim the Oil and Gas rights while another company believes they have them under lease?