Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Belmont
JAMES R. SAYRE, et al. PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES
VERA DOUGHTY, et al., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS
Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Belmont County, Ohio
Case No. 13 CV 0119
Plaintiffs-Appellees: Atty. Eric C. Johnson Johnson &
Johnson Law Office
Defendants-Appellants: Atty. David K. Schaffner Schaffner Law
Offices, Co., L.P.A.
Cheryl L. Waite Hon. Mary DeGenaro Hon. Carol Ann Robb
Appellants Vera Doughty, Frederick W. Dowd, Bessie Estella
Buckner, and Dorothy Jean Mount (collectively referred to as
"Appellants") appeal a May 13, 2014 Belmont County
Common Pleas Court decision to grant summary judgment in
favor of Appellees James R. and Jeanne V. Sayre. Appellants
argue that the 2006 Dormant Mineral Act ("DMA")
applies to all claims filed after June 30, 2006, thus the
trial court erroneously applied in the 1989 DMA in this
matter. Pursuant to Corban v. Chesapeake Exploration,
LLC, Ohio St.3d, 2016-Ohio-5796, N.E.3d, Appellants'
arguments have merit and the judgment of the trial court is
reversed and this cause is remanded for further proceedings
according to law and consistent with this Court's
and Procedural History
This appeal concerns the ownership of mineral interests
beneath approximately 100 acres of land located in Union
Township, Belmont County. On October 15, 1928, Clayton A. and
Orra E. Nichols conveyed the surface rights of the property
to Mary E. Estes. The Nichols reserved the mineral rights
through the following language: "Excepting and reserving
from the above described tract all the Pittsburgh or No.
Eight and also the No. Seven vein of coal. Also, excepting
and reserving to the Grantors herein all the oil and gas, in
and underlying the above described real estate."
(10/15/28 Nichols Deed.) The deed was recorded on February
Relevant to this appeal and some transactions later, Bedway
Land and Minerals, Co. conveyed the surface rights of this
land to James R. and Jeanne V. Sayre. The deed was recorded
on November 22, 1996. On April 13, 2012, the Sayres published
notice of their intent to declare the mineral rights
abandoned pursuant to R.C. 5301.56. On May 16, 2012 the
Sayres recorded an affidavit of abandonment. On June 11,
2012, Vera Doughty recorded an affidavit to preserve her
interests. On June 12, 2012, Frederick William Dowd filed a
similar affidavit. On June 13, 2012, Bessie Estella Buckner
and Dorothy Jean Mount also filed affidavits. Doughty, Dowd,
Buckner, and Mount are heirs of the Nichols.
On March 27, 2013, the Sayres filed a declaratory judgment
and quiet title complaint against Doughty and Dowd. The
Sayres later learned that Buckner and Mount had filed
affidavits, and the Sayres amended their complaint to add
Buckner and Mount as codefendants. On January 27, 2014,
Appellees filed an answer to the amended complaint and a
counterclaim. The Sayres filed a motion for summary judgment
on March 4, 2014. Appellees filed a response and cross motion
for summary judgment on March 31, 2014. On May 13, 2014, the
trial court granted the Sayres' motion. This timely
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 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 267 (1977).
Whether a fact is "material" depends on the
substantive law of the claim being litigated. Hoyt, Inc.
v. Gordon & Assoc, Inc., 104 Ohio App.3d 598, 603,
662 N.E.2d 1088 (8th Dist.1995).
"[T]he moving party bears the initial responsibility of
informing the trial court of the basis for the motion, and
identifying those portions of the record which demonstrate
the absence of a genuine issue of fact on a material element
of the nonmoving party's claim." (Emphasis deleted.)
Dresher v. Burt, 75 Ohio St.3d 280, 296, 662 N.E.2d
264 (1996). If the moving party carries its burden, the
nonmoving party has a reciprocal burden of setting forth
specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial. Id. at 293. In other words, when presented
with a properly supported motion for summary judgment, the
nonmoving party must produce some evidence to suggest that a
reasonable factfinder could rule in that party's favor.
Brewer v. Cleveland Bd. of Edn., 122 Ohio App.3d
378, 386, 701 N.E.2d 1023 (8th Dist.1997).
The evidentiary materials to support a motion for summary
judgment are listed in Civ.R. 56(C) and include the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, written
admissions, affidavits, transcripts of evidence, and written
stipulations of fact that have been filed in the case. In
resolving the motion, the court ...