Ohio Landmen Subject to Real Estate Broker Statutes?

Recently, Ohio’s Seventh District Court of Appeals issued its decision in Dundics v. Eric Petroleum Corp., 2017-Ohio-640 (7th Dist.). In the decision the court said that many activities performed by oil and gas landmen fall within the purview of Ohio’s real estate broker statutes, being Ohio Revised Code section 4735.01, et seq. This decision has potentially far-reaching consequences for landmen working in the State of Ohio. In Dundics, Thomas Dundics…

Ohio Supreme Court ruling in Corban v. Chesapeake Exploration: Here’s what you need to know

The Ohio Supreme Court held yesterday that abandoned mineral interests were not automatically extinguished under the 1989 version of the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (ODMA). The Court ruled in Corban v. Chesapeake Exploration, L.L.C., that any surface owner seeking to claim ownership of a dormant mineral interest after June 30, 2006, must comply with the provisions of the 2006 version of ODMA, which includes notice and recording requirements. This ruling affects…

Ohio Supreme Court issues ODMA ruling in Chesapeake v. Buell

On November 5, 2015, the Ohio Supreme Court took its first step towards resolving the significant uncertainty surrounding the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (ODMA). The court issued its opinion in the case of Chesapeake Exploration, LLC v. Buell, 2015-Ohio-4551. The slip opinion can be found here. While numerous ODMA cases remain pending before the Court, this opinion begins to shed light on how the court will analyze and interpret issues…

Questions remain regarding probate transfers as savings events under ODMA

Ohio’s first producing oil well was drilled in 1860. As production increased over time, oil and gas ownership rights became more valuable, and many historical real property owners began to sever those rights from the surface of their real property. These severed oil and gas rights were often passed down from generation to generation, by testate or intestate succession, leading to fractional ownership interests. It became increasingly difficult and burdensome…

Is a title opinion subject to attorney-client privilege?

With the growth of civil lawsuits in the Marcellus Shale Region regarding oil and gas ownership, oil and gas leases, and other property rights, it is pertinent to understand the protections afforded to title opinions under the applicable attorney-client privileges. Application of the attorney-client privilege requires that confidential communications be made in connection with providing legal services. A title opinion is the written opinion of an attorney, based on a…

Superior Court of Pa. affirms appeal denial in a lease dispute against a Burns White client

Recently, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed an appeal denial in a lease dispute against a large natural gas producing client represented by Member and Co-Chair of the Energy Group Jeffrey D. Roberts and Energy Associate Marissa A. Cocciolone. The plaintiffs, a husband and wife who own the surface rights of more than 300 acres of land in Tioga County, Pa., filed a complaint against our client and later the…

Proposal to amend PA Dormant Oil and Gas Act would benefit both landowners and drillers


On January 21, 2015, House Bill 67 was referred to the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. House Bill 67 would amend Pennsylvania’s Dormant Oil and Gas Act of 2006 to define when an oil and gas estate may be deemed abandoned. As of now, the actions operators and surface owners can take under the Dormant Oil and Gas Act are limited. Interested parties may…

Energy litigators secure a summary judgment for a natural gas producing client in a lease royalty dispute

Energy Group Co-Chair and Member Jeffrey D. Roberts and Associate Cressinda D. Schlag received a summary judgment for a large natural gas producing client in a lease dispute involving the distribution of royalties in Greene County, Pa. The land involved in the dispute was initially part of a lease that was entered into by a husband and wife in 1928. Their estate was eventually subdivided between three parties with the…

Pa. Governor-elect’s policy changes to impact natural gas industry

In a decisive election this past November, Democrat Tom Wolf defeated sitting Pennsylvania governor and Republican, Tom Corbett, running on a platform of, among other things, changes to the natural gas industry. Wolf will take office January 20, and his policy ideas for this industry, if implemented, would impact operators both prior to and after the point of extraction. Tom Wolf campaigned on supporting local municipalities’ rights to impose distinct…

What you need to know about OSHA’s intensifying focus on fracking operations

Over the past couple of years, OSHA has intensified its focus on the oil and gas industry, leading to several proposals for new regulations and the publication of multiple bulletins specific to perceived hazards in oil and gas operations. OSHA’s most recent publication comes in the form of a guideline, titled Hydraulic Fracturing and Flowback Hazards Other than Respirable Silica, which was drafted in the form of an educational bulletin.…