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multiple amendments have led to varying interpretations of its application.8
The various interpretations, as well as questions regarding the statute’s
constitutionality, have led to a multitude of cases before Ohio courts within
the past three years.9 A number of key issues have made their way through
the Ohio appellate courts, and the Supreme Court of Ohio has a number of
cases presently before it regarding the correct application of certain aspects
of the DMA.10 Additionally, unresolved questions remain.11 Some are not
currently in litigation, and more have yet to be discovered.12 This Article
explains the current state of the DMA under Ohio case law and provides
guidance to practitioners.
First, Part II of this Article discusses the history of the DMA. Next, Part
III discusses and analyzes key issues currently before the Supreme Court of
Ohio regarding the DMA. Then, Part IV expounds upon unresolved issues
that have not yet been litigated in Ohio courts. Finally, Part V concludes
with a succinct summary of how to apply the DMA given current Ohio court
II. HISTORY OF THE DMA
In 1961, the General Assembly enacted Ohio’s Marketable Title Act
(MTA).13 The MTA was adopted to simplify and facilitate land title
transactions by extinguishing ancient claims and interests in land that had
become stale.14 The MTA provides that a person who has an unbroken chain
of title or record to any interest in land for forty years or more has a
marketable record title to such interest, unless certain exceptions apply.15
8 CHRIS BARONZZI, The Dormant Mineral Act: Lots of Questions, Few Answers, OIL &
GAS L. REP. (Jan. 2, 2015), http://www.oilandgaslawreport.com/2015/01/02/the-dormant-
9 Id. See also, e.g., Tribett v. Shepherd, 2014-Ohio-4320, 20 N.E.3d 365 (7th Dist.),
appeal allowed, 142 Ohio St. 3d 1447, 2015-Ohio-1591, 29 N.E.3d 1003; Taylor v. Crosby,
7th Dist. Belmont No. 13 BE 42, 2014-Ohio-4433, appeal allowed, 142 Ohio St. 3d 1421,
2015-Ohio-1353, 28 N.E.3d 121; Wendt v. Dickerson, 5th Dist. Tuscawarus No. 2014 AP 01
0003, 2014-Ohio-4615, appeal allowed, 142 Ohio St. 3d 1464, 2015-Ohio-1896, 30 N.E.3d
973; Thompson v. Custer, 2014-Ohio-5711, 26 N.E.3d 278 (11th Dist.), appeal allowed, 143
Ohio St. 3d 1416, 2015-Ohio-2911, 34 N.E.3d 929.
10 BARONZZI, supra note 8.
13 OHIO REV. CODE ANN. §§ 5301.47–.55 (West 1961).
14 OHIO REV. CODE ANN. § 5301.50 (West 2014).
15 Id. § 5301.51.