- Justice Pfeifer Lets His "Fillings" Be Heard
- November 24, 2016
- Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
- Last month, in three written decisions, the Ohio Supreme Court held that the 1989 Dormant Mineral Act was not self-executing. In one of those three decisions, Albanese v. Batman (Slip Opinion No. 2016-Ohio-5814), the court affirmed that mineral rights cannot be deemed abandoned under the 2006 Dormant Mineral Act unless notice has been provided to the holder of the mineral interest. Writing for the court, Justice Sharon Kennedy cited Corban v. Chesapeake Exploration L.L.C. (Slip Opinion No. 2016-Ohio-5796), in affirming that the 2006 Dormant Mineral Act applies to all claims to quiet title to dormant mineral interests filed after June 30, 2006, the effective date of the 2006 Dormant Mineral Act. Flying under the radar of the three published opinions was this tongue-in-cheek excerpt from Justice Paul Pfeifer’s concurring opinion in Batman:
“We learned in oral argument that the root of the Batman interest came from bartering undertaken by Nile Batman's great-great-grandfather, a dentist who traded dental care for interests in his patients' mineral rights; he put them in dentures and they gave him indentures. Hopefully, there were no hard fillings. Now his patience with those mineral rights has paid off for his progeny, a crowning achievement, even if the prices for the commodities involved have receded somewhat from their crest. Somewhere, the good doctor is smiling, knowing that ancient fees owed for drilling and extractions have been paid many times over by fees paid for drilling and extraction. He wouldn't care that the 1989 ODMA has been rendered toothless.”
While Justice Pfeifer’s concurrence may win the award for most entertaining legal opinion of 2016, we bet that his prize will be nothing more than a little plaque.