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. CVH 2012-0120 Reversed and Remanded.
Plaintiffs-Appellees: James F. Mathews Robert J. Tscholl
Defendants-Appellants: T. Owen Beetham Rupert Beetham
Carol Ann Robb Hon. Gene Donofrio Hon. Mary DeGenaro
Defendant-Appellant Thomas Mark Beetham appeals the April 30,
2014 decision of Harrison County Common Pleas Court granting
summary judgment for 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 Appellant is one of the
alleged mineral holders. Appellees attempted to have the
mineral rights, which previously were severed, deemed
abandoned and reunited with the surface estate. Appellees
filed 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
Appellant abandoned his mineral rights interests and those
interests automatically vested with the surface owners,
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
The parties claiming to be the holders of the mineral
interest rights underlying that property can be divided into
three groups: 1) Appellant; 2) Bedway Land, Chesapeake
Exploration, LLC, and Eric Petroleum Corporation; and 3)
McLaughlin Heirs. This appeal deals solely with the mineral
interest rights Appellant claims to own. Separate appeals, 14
HA 11 and 14 HA 13 have been filed concerning McLaughlin
Heirs; and Bedway Land, Chesapeake Exploration, and Eric
Petroleum's claimed mineral interest rights.
Appellant asserts he acquired his interest in the minerals
through intestate succession from Belle McLaughlin, Samuel K.
McLaughlin and Hannah Lucretia McLaughlin Beetham. The
mineral interests are claimed to have been derived from three
different deeds executed in 1921.
In addition to claiming his interest was acquired through
intestate succession, Appellant also claims his interest was
preserved when his predecessor in interest, Thomas Beetham,
recorded a notice of preservation with the Harrison County
Recorder on October 13, 1976. Furthermore, Rupert N. Beetham
filed an affidavit preserving minerals on March 10, 2011.
Exhibit J to the Third Amended Complaint. This affidavit
listed Appellant as a mineral owner. Exhibit J to the Third
Amended Complaint. Appellant filed an "Affidavit
Preserving Minerals" on October 28, 2011. Exhibit L to
the Third Amended Complaint.
Thereafter, Appellees filed a Declaratory Judgment and Quiet
Title complaint against the McLaughlin Heirs, Appellant,
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 Appellant,
McLaughlin Heirs, and Bedway Lands' mineral interests
abandoned and ...