Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Harrison
ROBERT B. MYERS, et al., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES,
BEDWAY LAND AND MINERALS COMPANY, et al., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.
Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Harrison County,
Ohio Case No. CVH2012-0120 Reversed and Remanded.
Plaintiffs-Appellees: James F. Mathews Robert J. Tscholl
Defendants-Appellants: Rupert Beetham Clay K. Keller J. Alex
Quay Michael Altvater Babst
Carol Ann Robb Hon. Gene Donofrio Hon. Mary DeGenaro
Defendants-Appellants LuAnn Vandemark, Sam Beetham, Jr.,
Rupert Beetham, III, Larry Beetham, Mary Beetham Bauer, Peggy
Faber, Robert Brownell, Phoebe Beetham Wright, Ren Leftwich,
Peggy McKissen, Amy Boyd Loratta, Nancy Beetham Eddy, Jane
McLaughlin Romansky, Carol Ann M. Rasmussen, Pamela
Harvey-Rath, Ruth McLaughlin Deundey, Nancy Lee Alderdice,
Nels Brownell, Charles Brownell, Steven M. Harvey, Betsy
Beetham Richards, and Robert Slater appeal the decision of
Harrison County Common Pleas Court granting summary judgment
in favor of Plaintiffs-Appellees Robert B. Myers, Rhoda L.
Myers, Jodee Myers, Bruce Myers, Sherrilyn Vantassel, Albert
Wright, Jr. (trustee), Scott Myers, Janet Myers, Thomas F.
Stanwick, Billie J. Stanwick, James Richardson, John P. Lamb,
and Donna R. Lamb.
Appellees are the surface owners and Appellants (McLaughlin
Heirs) are the alleged mineral holders. Appellees attempted
to have the mineral rights, which previously were severed,
deemed abandoned and reunited with the surface estate.
Appellees brought suit under the 1989 version of the Ohio
Dormant Mineral Act (ODMA) to accomplish that goal. The trial
court granted summary judgment for Appellees and found under
the 1989 ODMA Appellants abandoned their mineral rights
interests and those interests automatically vested with the
surface owners, Appellees.
For the reasons expressed below, the trial court's
decision is reversed and remanded.
of the Facts and Case
Appellees are the surface owners of approximately 631.0384
acres in Shortcreek Township in Harrison County, Ohio. These
land owners bought the surface at various times between 2004
and 2011. All the deeds contained oil, gas and coal
The parties claiming to be the holders of the mineral
interest rights underlying that property can be divided into
three groups: 1) Appellants; 2) Bedway Land, Chesapeake
Exploration, and Eric Petroleum; and 3) Mark Thomas Beetham.
This appeal deals solely with the mineral interest rights
Appellants claim to own. Separate appeals, 14 HA 12 and 14 HA
13, have been filed concerning Mark Thomas Beetham and Bedway
Land, Chesapeake Exploration, and Eric Petroleum's
claimed mineral interest rights.
Appellants assert they acquired their interest in the
minerals through intestate succession from Belle McLaughlin,
Samuel K. McLaughlin, and Hannah Lucretia McLaughlin Beetham.
Their mineral interests are claimed to have been derived from
three different deeds executed in 1921.
In an attempt to have the minerals interests deemed
abandoned, Appellees Robert and Rhoda Myers notified the
heirs of Samuel McLaughlin and Belle McLaughlin by
publication on April 2, 2011; Appellee Albert Wright notified
the heirs by publication on May 14, 2011. Attachments to
Defendants McLaughlin Heirs' Response to Plaintiff's
Requests for Production of Documents. Defendant Lucretia
Vandemark filed an "Affidavit Preserving Minerals"
with the Harrison County Recorder's Office on May 4,
2011. Exhibit I to Third Amended Complaint. The affidavit
asserted it was preserving Appellants' mineral interests.
Appellees Robert and Rhoda Myers filed an affidavit of
abandonment with the Harrison County Auditors Office on May
27, 2011; Appellee Wright filed his affidavit on June 3,
2011. Attachments to Defendants McLaughlin Heirs'
Response to Plaintiff's Requests for Production of
Following the publication and filing of affidavits, Appellees
filed a Declaratory Judgment and Quiet Title complaint
against Appellants, Thomas Mark Beetham, Bedway Land,
Chesapeake Exploration, and Eric Petroleum. 12/17/12
Complaint; 5/16/13 First Amended Complaint; 1/3/14 Second
Amended Complaint; 1/17/14 Third Amended Complaint. Appellees
sought to have the trial court declare Appellants Thomas Mark
Beetham and Bedway Lands' mineral interests in
Appellees' property abandoned and declare those ...