1989 Version of Ohio Dormant Mineral Act Prevails

The Jefferson County trial court decision in Shannon v. Householder finding that the severed mineral interest were automatically reunited with the surface pursuant to DMA ’89 was affirmed on appeal. 7th Dist. No. 13 JE 24, (June 2, 2014)

To reach this result, the appellate court (1) determined that DMA ’06 did not retroactively negate the automatic abandonment effect of DMA ’89, and (2) dismissed the idea espoused in Dahlgren v Brown Farm Properties, Carroll C.P., 13CVH27445, (Nov. 5, 2013). There the court said that DMA’89 requires DMA’06 to establish the Constitutionally-required notice. Also, even if DMA’89 applies to extinguish a dormant interest for nonuse during the 20-year look back period, “[A]t most the absence of those conditions created an inchoate right; it could not and did not transfer ownership without judicial confirmation or at least an opportunity for the disowned party to contest their absence or the effect of their absence.”

In the Shannon court’s view,

“We concluded that the 1989 DMA can still be used after the 2006 DMA amendments because the prior statute was self-executing and the lapsed right automatically vested in the surface owner. See Walker v. Shondrick-Nau, Executrix of Estate of Noon, 7th Dist. No. 13NO402, 2014-Ohio-1499 (fka Walker v. Noon). We maintain that holding and reiterate the rationale here.”

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