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Supreme Court of Ohio to Hear DMA Case

By Ilya Batikov

The Supreme Court of Ohio accepted a case involving the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (ODMA), Fonzi v. Brown, but held the case until the Court decides Gerrity v. Chervenak.

In Fonzi, the Court will consider issues over the extent of a landowner’s duty to exercise reasonable diligence in notifying mineral owners of an abandonment under the ODMA, the mineral owner’s burden in challenging the sufficiency of that notice, and the parties’ rights when a landowner files a quiet title asserting that no savings events occurred within the twenty-year period preceding the abandonment notice.

Read the full text of the five propositions of law that the Court accepted below the break.

Proposition of Law No. 1: Sufficient service by publication of the R.C. 5301.56(E)(1) notice does not require a Landowner to determine that service by certified mail, return receipt requested, is impossible to complete by searching for the names and addresses of the mineral holders outside the land records of the county in which the land is located.

Proposition of Law No. 2: In order to set aside the evidentiary bar in R.C. 5301.56(H)(2) that arises when the county recorder memorializes the record on which a mineral interest is based, the former holder of a mineral interest has the burden of establishing that service of the R.C. 5301.56(E)(1) notice was insufficient.

Proposition of Law No. 3: A former holder cannot establish that service by publication of the R.C. 5301.56(E)(1) notice was insufficient without showing that, with additional efforts by the Landowner, service by certified mail, return receipt requested, would have been possible to complete.

Proposition of Law No. 4: If a Landowner files an action to quiet title to a mineral interest under the DMA, such mineral interest is abandoned and vested in the Landowner if the requirements of R.C. 5301.56(E) are satisfied and none of R.C. 5301.56(B)(1) through (3) apply.

Proposition of Law No. 5: If a mineral holder is not prevented under R.C. 5301.56(H)(2) from presenting the record of a mineral interest in court as evidence against the owner of the surface of the lands formerly subject to the interest, insufficient service of the R.C. 5301.56(E)(1) notice on the mineral holder is harmless and irrelevant to whether a mineral interest has been abandoned under R.C. 5301.56(B) or (H)(2).


Tags: DMA, Oil and Gas, Energy, ODMA

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