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Kuzior v. Fisher

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Monroe

June 16, 2017

LESLIE R. KUZIOR, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
LINDA FISHER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.

         Civil Appeal from Court of Common Pleas of Monroe County, Ohio Case No. 2012-382

          For Plaintiff-Appellee Attorney David M. Cuppage

          For Defendants-Appellants Fisher, et al. Attorney William J. Taylor Attorney Ryan Linn

          For Defendant-Appellant Hall and Ross Resources Attorney Robert L. Bays Attorney J. Breton McNab

          JUDGES: Hon. Gene Donofrio Hon. Mary DeGenaro Hon. Carol Ann Robb

          OPINION

          DONOFRIO, J.

         {¶1} Defendants-appellants, Linda Fisher, Max Fliehman, Mollie Conley, Lou Ann Fliehman, Lora Fisher, Lyle Fisher, Rhonda Fisher, Tamara Lynch, Jason Fliehman, Tara Baxley, Ellerie Hackathorn, and Tiffany Hackathorn, appeal from a Monroe County Common Pleas Court judgment granting summary judgment in favor of plaintiff-appellee, Leslie Kuzior, and determining that oil and gas rights underlying certain property vested with the surface estate by operation of the 1989 Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (ODMA).

         {¶2} This case concerns the oil and gas rights underlying approximately 80 acres of property (the Property) located in Monroe County. Appellee is the owner of the Property, which he acquired by way of fiduciary deed filed December 4, 2006, from Judith Sieg, Executrix of the Estate of Theodore Kuzior. Prior to this time, appellee's mother and then his father owned the Property.

         {¶3} Appellants claim to own the oil and gas interest underlying the Property pursuant to a mineral reservation made in 1927 (the Reservation), which stated:

Aslow Excepting and reserving all the Leasing Rights Right all the oil and gas under said real estate with the right to use all necessary surface to operate and market said oil and gas thereunder the above reserved oil rights to be operated and protected by usual form of Lease protecting gas for house purposes to growing crops of said F.J. Smith his heirs and assigns.

(Pl. Summary Judgment Motion Ex. B). The Reservation was made by warranty deed from H.H. and Mena Fliehman to F.J. Smithburger.

         {¶4} Mena Fliehman died on June 21, 1980, leaving all interests in her estate to appellants.

         {¶5} On February 14, 2012, appellants, acting through Max Fliehman and Fliehman Oil Company, entered into a Paid-Up Oil and Gas Lease with defendant Hall and Ross Resources (Hall and Ross) to lease the oil and gas rights underlying the Property.

          {¶6} On May 7, 2012, appellee filed an Affidavit of Abandonment with the ...


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