Ohio oil and gas lease force majeure clauseA Coshocton County, Ohio judge recently ruled personal household use cannot be considered production in a case involving a 1983 Ohio oil and gas lease.

The suit was filed in 2012 by George and Bonnie Clark and Roy W. and Sheila A. Krasky against Zelpha Myers concerning a gas well and lease. The gas well is owned by Myers, but she does not own the land on which the well is located. Myers maintained that the well was producing enough gas for the Myers’ household and was trying to keep the lease with the Clarks and Kraskys in effect on that basis.

The plaintiffs (Clarks and Kraskys) filed the suit against Myers in an attempt to get out of the gas lease.

Myers bought the well in 1998. Since 1998, production has not been reported to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and no royalties have been paid to the Clarks or Kraskys since 1999.

The Clarks and Kraskys parcels were originally one parcel and were leased before the land was sold to either family. The parcels are now two separate parcels with the Clarks owning 28.18 acres and the Krasky family owning 20.79 acres.

In his decision, Judge Robert J. Batchelder relied on a 2005 case from Ohio’s 5th District Court of Appeals, Morrison v. Petro Evaluation Services, Inc. which said production of gas for household use is not considered “production” under the terms of leases like those between the parties. Coshocton County, Ohio is part of the 5th District.

Batchelder said Myers’ “position is unjust and against public policy because the defendant (Myers) desires to indefinitely hold the Clark and Krasky lands in bondage to a non-producing oil and gas lease.”
He wrote that the lease expired due to non-production.

If you have an issue with an oil or gas lease, you can probably appreciate the complex nature of these types of cases. At Slater & Zurz LLP we have experienced attorneys who can help you determine if your issue is one you should take to court. Please call them at 1-888-534-4850 to discuss your problem or explain it in the FREE CASE REVIEW section of our website at www.slaterzurz.com.