Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Guernsey
W. RANDAL ERICKSON, ET AL. Plaintiffs-Appellees
PAUL E. MORRISON, ET AL. Defendants-Appellants and SUSAN GEORGE (fka Logan) Defendant-Cross-Appellant
from the Guernsey County Court of Common Pleas, case no.
REVERSED IN PART, AFFIRMED IN PART, AND REMANDED
PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES: JOHN P. BRODY WILLIAM J. LEVENDUSKY
JANE K. GLEAVES KEGLER, BROWN, HILL RITTER GARY PAUL PRICE
CHAD A. FOISSET PRICE LAW FIRM LLC CO-COUNSEL, SUSAN GEORGE,
DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS: GREGORY W. WATTS MATTHEW W. ONEST
KRUGLIAK, WILKINS, GRIFFITHS & DOUGHERTY CO., L.P.A.
NELSON E. GENSHAFT ANTHONY C. CHAMBERS STRIP, HOPPERS,
LEITHART ET AL. CO-COUNSEL FOR SUSAN GEORGE, FKA LOGAN
W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. William B. Hoffman, J. Hon. Patricia
A. Delaney, J.
Appellants Paul E. Morrison and Vesta G. Morrison (the
"Morrisons") appeal from the April 17, 2019
Findings of Fact/Conclusions of Law/Judgment Entry of the
Guernsey County Court of Common Pleas. Appellees are W.
Randal Erickson, Kathleen E. Erickson, and Sally Tonning (the
"Ericksons"). Defendant/Cross-appellant Susan
George ("George") appeals from the same judgment.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
This case arose from disputed ownership of mineral rights
related to approximately 139 acres of real property in
Washington Township, Guernsey County, Ohio.
creation of the Reservation
On February 26, 1926, James T. Logan and Rose L. Logan,
husband and wife, executed a warranty deed transferring the
surface rights of the real estate to Richard Riggs and Alta
Riggs. The deed contained the following reservation of the
mineral rights (the "Reservation"):
Excepting and reserving therefrom all coal, gas, and oil with
the right of first parties, their heirs and assigns, at any
time to drill and operate for oil and gas and to mine all
coal with further right to build and maintain reservoirs,
pipe lines, and the use of reasonable necessary roads; the
said first parties their heirs and assigns, being liable and
required to pay all taxes assessed against their said
property and any damages caused to growing crops by any of
such operations. All such operations for coal shall be
outside of and leave one acre of solid coal under the
dwelling house and under the barn and no drilling for oil or
gas shall be within one hundred yards of the said dwelling
house, barn, and other buildings located on said farm.
On February 25, 1941, Logan sold the mineral rights to C.L.
Ogle through execution of a Mineral Deed which described the
oil and gas rights as follows:
James T. Logan, a widower and not remarried, transferred to
C.L. Ogle, his heirs and assigns, the following in pertinent
This conveyance is intended to convey all of the interest of
the Grantor herein, which consists of certain reservations in
that certain deed executed on the 26th day of February 1926,
from James T. Logan (the grantor herein) and Rose L. Logan
(his then wife) to Edward Riggs and Alta Riggs.
The said reservations conveyed herein consist of all coal,
gas, and oil, with the right of the said grantors James T.
Logan and Rose L. Logan, their heirs and assigns, at any time
to drill and operate for oil and gas, and to mine all coal
with the further right to build and maintain reservoir pipe
lines and the use of reasonably necessary roads, said
grantors, their heirs and assigns being liable and required
to pay all taxes assessed against the said property, and any
damage caused to growing crops by any such operations. All
Such Operations for coal shall be outside of and leave one
acre of solid coal under the dwelling house and under the
barn, and no drilling for oil or gas shall be within one
Hundred (100) yards of said dwelling house, barn, and other
buildings located on said farm. * * * *.
The Ericksons of the instant case are the heirs of C.L. Ogle.
The "Logan Defendants" referenced throughout the
opinion, including cross-appellant Susan George fka Logan,
are the heirs of James T. Logan.
Title to the surface rights of the real property was conveyed
or transferred through estate or intestacy recorded
documents. Each recorded instrument contains the Reservation,
supra, reproduced in its entirety.
Morrisons' deeds contain the Reservation
By warranty deed dated April 26, 1978, filed for record May
1, 1978, the Morrisons took title to the surface rights. The
warranty deed contains the Reservation in its entirety.
The Morrisons executed a survivorship deed on June 2, 1983,
filed for record on June 16, 1983, conveying the surface
rights of the property to themselves in joint tenancy with a
right of survivorship. The survivorship deed contains the
Reservation in its entirety.
The Morrisons executed a quitclaim deed on May 8, 1998, filed
for record on May 12, 1998, conveying the surface rights to
the Paul E. Morrison Trust, of which Paul E. and Vesta G.
Morrison are both trustees. The trust deed contains the
Reservation in its entirety.
2015 litigation: Logans' interest extinguished
On April 9, 2015, the Morrisons brought an action in the
Guernsey County Court of Common Pleas styled Paul E. Morrison
et al. v. Marjorie A. Logan et al. against the Logan
Defendants,  arguing the Morrisons own both the real
estate and the minerals pursuant to the 1989 version of the
Ohio Dormant Mineral ...