Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Monroe
Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Monroe County, Ohio
Case No. 2013-234
Plaintiffs-Appellees: Atty. Richard A. Yoss Atty. Ryan M.
Regel Yoss Law Office.
Defendants-Appellants: Atty. Scott D. Eicicelberger Atty.
William J. Taylor Atty. David J. Tarbert Atty. Ryan H. Linn
Kincaid, Taylor & Geyer.
Cheryl L. Waite Hon. Mary DeGenaro Hon. Carol Ann Robb Judge.
Appellants John R. Bucher, Jan Bucher Carmichael, Fred L.
May, Dale L. Binkley, Elizabeth Miller, Michael Vreeland,
Susan Leach Swisher, Henry Carter Castilow, Sharon Castilow,
and Brian Castilow collectively appeal a June 16, 2014
decision of the Monroe County Common Pleas Court to grant
summary judgment in favor of Appellees David and Sherrie
Stalder ("the Stalders"). Appellants' brief has
been filed on behalf of the Heirs of Godfrey Winkler
("Winkler Heirs"). John R. Bucher is a Winkler
Heir. The Winkler Heirs argue that the trial court
erroneously applied the 1989 Dormant Mineral Act
("DMA") in this oil and gas lease dispute. Even if
the 1989 DMA applied, the Winkler Heirs argue that the trial
court erroneously determined that unreleased oil and gas
leases are not "title transactions." Pursuant to
Corban v. Chesapeake Exploration, LLC, Slip Opinion
No. 2016-Ohio-5796, the 1989 DMA does not apply in this
matter and the judgment of the trial court is reversed.
Appellant's remaining arguments are moot. However, as the
trial court resolved this matter in summary judgment and
there are other issues still in dispute, the matter is
remanded for consideration of those issues.
and Procedural History
On February 21, 1946, Godfrey Winkler conveyed approximately
100 acres of land situated in Monroe County, Ohio to Anna S.
Winkler. The deed contained the following reservation:
"Excepting and reserving therefrom all oil and gas in
and underlying said premises." (2/21/46 Deed, p. 2.) On
September 13, 1950, Anna Winkler entered into an oil and gas
lease with H.S. Shaffer, Jr. The lease was recorded on
November 14, 1950. On February 24, 1956, the Winkler Heirs
conveyed the property by quitclaim deed to Glenn and Juanita
Stalder. The deed contained the following reservation:
But excepting and reserving, however, unto the grantors,
their heirs and assigns, all of the oil, gas, coal and all
other minerals of a similar or dissimilar nature on, within
and underlying the above three tracts of land, together with
all of the leasing and mining rights and privileges/belonging
Deed, p. 2.) On July 2, 2001, Glenn and Juanita Stalder
deeded the property to Appellees David and Sherrie Stalder.
The deed was recorded on July 6, 2001.
On May 15, 2013, the Stalders filed an affidavit pursuant to
R.C. 5301.252 stating that the Winkler Heirs had abandoned
their mineral interests in the property. The affidavit also
asserted that the dormant mineral rights had vested in the
Stalders because of the automatic and self-executing nature
of the 1989 DMA. In response, the Winkler Heirs filed a claim
to preserve their mineral interests pursuant to the 2006 DMA.
Subsequently, on May 28, 2013, the Stalders filed a quiet
title and declaratory judgment action. The complaint alleged
that the Winklers abandoned their mineral interests pursuant
to the 1989 DMA. The complaint did not address the 2006 DMA.
On April 30, 2014, the Stalders filed a motion for summary
judgment, arguing that the dormant mineral interests in the
property vested in them pursuant to the 1989 DMA, before the
2006 DMA took effect. In the alternative, they argued that
the Winkler Heirs' interests were extinguished pursuant
to the Marketable Title Act ("MTA"). The Winkler
Heirs did not file a competing motion for summary judgment.
On June 16, 2014, the trial court granted the Stalders'
motion. The court found that the Winkler Heirs abandoned
their rights under the 1989 DMA and did not address any other
issue. This timely appeal followed.
An appellate court conducts a de novo review of a
trial court's decision to grant summary judgment using
the same standards as the trial court, as set forth in Civ.R.
56(C). Grafton v. Ohio Edison Co., 77 Ohio St.3d
102, 105, 671 N.E.2d 241 (1996). Before summary judgment can
be granted, the trial court must determine that: (1) no
genuine issue as to any material fact remains to be
litigated, (2) the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law, (3) it appears from the evidence that
reasonable minds can come to but one conclusion, and viewing
the evidence most favorably in favor of the party against
whom the motion for summary judgment is made, the conclusion
is adverse to that party. Temple v. Wean United,
Inc.,50 Ohio St.2d 317, 327, 364 N.E.2d ...