On June 18, 2015, the Supreme Court of Ohio issued a decision in Dodd v. Croskey, 2015-Ohio-2362, unanimously holding that a mineral-interest holder’s claim to preserve their interest, filed pursuant to R.C. 5301.56(H)(1)(a), is sufficient to preclude their mineral interests from being deemed abandoned if it is filed within 60 days after notice of the surface owner’s intent to declare the interest abandoned.
The Court found that the plain language of R.C. 5301.56 provides that a mineral-interest holder’s claim to preserve precludes abandonment of the interest so long as it is filed either (1) in the twenty years preceding the surface owner’s notice of intent to declare the interest abandoned, or (2) within 60 days after the surface owner’s notice.
Further, the Court tied its holding to the purpose of the Ohio Marketable Title Act set forth in R.C. 5301.55. “Allowing a claim preserving a mineral interest to be filed after the surface owner’s notice furthers the legislative purpose because a claim to preserve describes an identifiable mineral-interest holder who presents a chain of title from which that holder claims interest in the mineral rights.”
Notably, the Court’s decision declined to address the issue of whether a recitation of a prior mineral reservation in a deed conveying only the surface estate constitutes a “title transaction,” preserving a holder’s interest, which was accepted, sua sponte, after oral argument.