Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Monroe
JON WILLIAMS, et al. PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES
RONNIE RAY STILLION, Trustee of the Charles R. Stillion Family Trust DEFENDANT-APPELLANT
Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Monroe County, Ohio
Case No. 2013-273
Plaintiff-Appellee, Jon Williams, et al. Attorney Craig
Sweeney Attorney Richard Yoss.
Plaintiff-Appellee, State of Ohio ex re. Ohio Attorney
General Michael DeWine Attorney Gerald Dailey Attorney
Jennifer Barrett Assistant Attorneys General.
Defendant-Appellant Attorney Richard Zurz, Jr.
JUDGES: Hon. Mary DeGenaro, Hon. Gene Donofrio, Hon. Cheryl
Defendant-Appellant, Ronnie Ray Stillion, Trustee of the
Charles R. Stillion Trust, appeals the trial court's
decision to apply the 1989 version of R.C. 5301.56,
Ohio's Dormant Mineral Act, thereby granting summary
judgment and quieting title to the severed mineral interest
in Plaintiffs-Appellees, Jon Williams, et al.
For the following reasons, it was error for the trial court
to resolve this action by applying the 1989 version of the
DMA as the Ohio Supreme Court has recently held that the 2006
version controls resolution of disputes over severed mineral
interests. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is
reversed, and the case remanded in order for the trial court
to apply in the first instance, the 2006 version of R.C.
5301.56, pursuant to the Ohio Supreme Court's recent
rulings regarding the ODMA, including, inter alia, Corban
v. Chesapeake Exploration, L.L.C., Slip Opinion No.
2016-Ohio-5796 (Sept. 15, 2016).
and Procedural History
Appellees are the surface owners of certain real property in
Monroe County. On June 28, 2013, Appellees filed a complaint
against Stillion, alleging that a three-fourths mineral
interest in that real property-which previously had been
severed from the surface interest-had been automatically
forfeited to and vested in Appellees as of March 22, 1992, by
operation of the 1989 version of the DMA, R.C. 5301.56.
Stillion filed an original and amended answer and
counterclaim asserting that the trust was the present owner
in fee simple of the mineral interest, and that the 1989 DMA
violated Ohio's Constitution. The Ohio Attorney General
intervened to defend the constitutionality of the 1989 DMA
and eventually sought summary judgment asserting that the
1989 DMA is a self-executing statute that complies with
Appellees and Stillion then filed cross-motions for summary
judgment. One of the disputed issues during summary judgment
proceedings was whether the 1989 or the 2006 version of the
On July 1, 2014, the trial court granted Appellees'
motion for summary judgment and denied Stillion's; in so
doing, the trial court applied the 1989 DMA only. Based upon
the findings and holdings contained in that entry, the trial
court found it unnecessary to rule on the Attorney
General's motion for summary judgment. Finally, the trial
court's entry is devoid of any consideration or analysis
of law or facts relative to the 2006 DMA.
This appeal had been stayed on December 13, 2014 pending the
Ohio Supreme Court's decision in multiple cases
regarding, inter alia, whether the 1989 or the 2006 version
of R.C. 5301.56, the ODMA, controls the resolution of
disputed claims to severed minerals ...