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Ohio Supreme Court Upholds Appellate Court Decision in Dormant Mineral Act Case

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In an unanimous decision issued on June 18, 2015 in Dodd v. Croskey, the Supreme Court of Ohio held that, under the 2006 version of the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (ODMA), a claim to preserve is sufficient to preclude abandonment of reserved mineral interests when the claim is filed within 60 days after the surface owner’s notice of intent to declare those interests to be abandoned.

The issue in Dodd was whether a reserved mineral interest is preserved where the only action taken by the mineral interest holder is to file a claim to preserve within 60 days after the surface owner serves or publishes his notice of intent.  The Supreme Court answered that question in the affirmative and upheld the decision of the Seventh District Court of Appeals.

In Dodd, the surface owners published a notice in the newspaper that they intended to declare the mineral interest to be abandoned under the 2006 ODMA.  The holder can prevent abandonment if, within 60 days after the surface owner’s notice, the holder records an affidavit specifying savings events that occurred within the 20-year period preceding the surface owners’ notice.  See Ohio Rev. Code § 5301.56(H)(1)(b).  That was not done here.  The holder also can prevent abandonment if he files a claim to preserve within 60 days after the surface owner’s notice.  See Ohio Rev. Code § 5301.56(H)(1)(a).  A holder complied with the latter option.  Accordingly, the Supreme Court held “that a mineral-interest holder’s claim to preserve filed pursuant to R.C. 5301.56(H)(1)(a) is sufficient to preclude the mineral interests from being deemed abandoned if filed within 60 days after notice of the surface owner’s intent to declare those interests abandoned.”  Dodd v. Croskey, 2015-Ohio-2362, at paragraph 37.

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