Following up on its recent decision in M&H P’Ship v. Hines, Ohio’s Seventh District Court of Appeals has offered further guidance on the term “holder” as used in the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (ODMA)—finding that heirs of the record holder of a dormant mineral interest are “holders” for purposes of the statute, even if they did not acquire their interest through a chain of title of conveyances or probate estates that specifically transmitted the dormant mineral interest. See Warner v. Palmer (March 22, 2017).
In Palmer, the surface owner argued that heirs of the now-deceased record holders of the dormant mineral interest did not have standing to challenge its notice of abandonment. Under the ODMA, only the “holder or a holder’s successors or assignees” are permitted to record a claim to preserve dormant mineral interests in response to a notice of abandonment. And the word “heir” is omitted from the statute, the surface owner noted. Moreover, in this particular case, the record showed that the dormant mineral interest was omitted from the record holders’ estate inventories. According to the surface owner, these facts established that the heirs were neither the record holders of the dormant mineral interest nor “successors or assignees” of the record holders.