Posts Authored by Jhay T. Spottswood

Ohio Supreme Court: Oil and gas royalty reservation preserved under the Ohio Marketable Title Act

On December 13, 2018, in Blackstone v. Moore, 2018-Ohio-4959, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a reference that includes the type of interest created and to whom the interest was granted is sufficiently specific to preserve the interest in the record title under the plain language of the Ohio Marketable Title Act (OMTA). The Court rejected the appellant’s claim that the oil and gas royalty was extinguished because the reference did not provide the volume and page number where the interest was created or the date the interest was created.

The sole issue was whether the reference to an oil and gas interest in the deed was sufficient to preserve that interest under the Ohio Marketable Title Act. Here, the property was conveyed to the Blackstones in 1969, with the following exception: “Excepting the one-half interest in oil and gas royalty previously excepted by Nick Kuhn, their [sic] heirs and assigns in the above sixty acres.” The Court reasoned that “one-half interest,” and “Nick Kuhn and their [sic] heirs,” was free from ambiguity because it included the type of interest created and who originally reserved that interest. According to the Court, the royalty interest had been sufficiently identified by the plain language of the exception contained in the 1969 deed, and as a result, the oil and gas royalty interest had not been extinguished by the OMTA.

In her concurring opinion, Justice DeGenaro noted that the majority opinion was not to be read to affirmatively state that the OMTA applied to oil and gas interests in light of the “more specific” Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (ODMA). Thus, according to Justice DeGenaro, the Court still needs to consider the question of whether the ODMA, the OMTA or both can be used in seeking to quiet title in oil and gas interests in Ohio. That question is already being hotly litigated in the State of Ohio. Check back with ShaleOhio for updates in this area.

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