OH Supreme Court: Royalty Deductions Decided Case-by-Case

Gavel-falling.jpgLast year the Ohio Supreme Court accepted a case that will sound familiar to readers of MDN. The case, known as Lutz v. Chesapeake Appalachia, is about whether or not drillers (Chesapeake in this case) is allowed to deduct certain post-production costs from landowner royalty checks. That debate currently rages in Bradford County, PA–as well as other locations across the country. In the Ohio case, the high court was asked to decide whether Ohio follows the “at the well” rule, which permits the deduction of post-production costs, or if the state follows the “marketable product” rule, which limits the deduction of post-production costs under certain circumstances. Drillers and landowners have a lot riding on the decision. The Supremes came down off Mount Olympus yesterday to render their verdict (full copy of the decision below). The court said in so many words, “We’re not deciding.” In other words, each royalty case should be litigated individually, case-by-case, in a trial court. There is no one-size-fits-all with respect to deducting expenses from royalty checks. Each case will depend on how the contract is written, and the success of lawyers litigating it…

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