Supreme Court of Ohio Rules on Ohio Dormant Minerals Act Case

On June 18, 2015, the Supreme Court of Ohio affirmed the judgment of the Seventh District Court of Appeals in Dodd v. Croskey, 2015-Ohio-2362, the first in a line of cases pending before the Court concerning the Ohio Dormant Minerals Act, O.R.C. 5301.56.

The sole issue on appeal was “whether a mineral-interest holder’s claim to preserve a mineral interest from being deemed abandoned in accordance with R.C. 5301.56(H)(1)(a) was sufficient to preserve that interest if the claim was filed after notice of the surface owner’s intent to declare the mineral interest abandoned and outside the 20-year window immediately preceding that notice.”

Appellants contended that to prevent abandonment, a claim to preserve would need to be filed in the 20 years prior to receipt of notice of intent in order to declare mineral interest abandoned from the surface owner.

Based on a plain reading of the statute, however, the Court held that a claim to preserve filed after receipt of notice and within the 60-day window to respond is sufficient to prevent abandonment.  “The statute plainly permits a mineral-interest holder to preserve his or her claim by filing either a claim to preserve within 60 days or an affidavit identifying a saving event in the 20 years preceding notice.”  Dodd at 10.

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