ABA Section of Litigation

Authors: Ariel Nieland Forbes

1. The Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (ODMA) has two different versions, and the variations among Ohio courts in interpreting and applying each version has resulted in a flurry of litigation.

The 1989 version of the ODMA was enacted on March 22, 1989, and is regarded by some Ohio courts as a “use it or lose it” statute. Under the 1989 version, a mineral interest “shall be deemed abandoned and vested in the owner of the surface” if the mineral interest owner did not “use” its mineral rights during a 20-year period. Ohio Rev. Code § 5301.56(B)(1)(c) and (B)(2) (1989). The 1989 version of the ODMA does not specify any procedure for notice to the mineral-interest owner about an abandonment claim, for the holder of the mineral rights to contest the alleged abandonment, or for anyone to record the abandonment.

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