The Ohio Supreme Court recently accepted a new group of civil cases; among them is Chesapeake Exploration, LLC v. Buell. In this case, the Supreme Court has agreed to answer the following two questions of Ohio law certified by United States District Judge Watson of the Southern District of Ohio in Case No. 2:12-cv-916:
- Is the recorded lease of a severed subsurface mineral estate a title transaction under the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act, R.C. 5301.56(B)(3)(a)?
- Is the expiration of a recorded lease and the reversion of the rights granted under that lease a title transaction that restarts the 20-year forfeiture clock under the ODMA at the time of the reversion?
Chesapeake Exploration, LLC v. Buell is the second Ohio Dormant Mineral Act case the Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to consider. The first, Dodd v. Croskey, accepted in mid-March, will decide an appeal from the Seventh District to determine whether:
Ohio Revised Code Section 5301.56(B)(3) requires a showing by a party claiming the preservation of a prior mineral interest of a “savings event” that occurred in the 20 years prior to notice being served and not a “savings event” after the date of the notice being served.
With these two cases, the Ohio Supreme Court will decide critical questions that have arisen from ambiguities in the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act. The court’s decisions will have serious consequences for oil and gas companies and anyone who owns mineral rights or interests in Ohio oil and gas leases.
Those with a stake in these matters should consider whether to make their voices heard by filing “friend of the court” or amicus curiae briefs, as explained in this recent article by Dennis Hirsch, one of the attorneys who comprise Porter Wright’s Appellate and Supreme Court Practice Group.