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Gregory D. Brunton Quoted in Steubenville Herald Star Article on Oil, Gas and Mineral Rights Case

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Steubenville Herald Star
February 7, 2012

Judge: Drilling can continue on Jewett property

CADIZ A Harrison County Common Pleas judge has ruled that a
Chesapeake subsidiary can continue drilling operations on the Jewett
Sportsmen Club property, provided those activities are confined to
recovering only the oil and gas under its property.


Judge Michael K. Nunner issued the 15-page ruling Tuesday
afternoon. In it, he concluded "the North American Coal Company
reserved only limited rights to utilize the subject premises to access
and remove coal, oil, gas and other minerals from areas outside the
subject premises."


North American Coal sold the property to the sportsmen in 1959, but
reserved mineral rights related to its coal, oil and gas deposits.
"Specifically, it reserved the right to access and remove coal, oil, gas
and other minerals recovered outside the subject premises only to
the extent that such activities were carried on 'through and under'
the subject premises," Nunner wrote. "The reservation does not
authorize Defendant to use any portion of the premises held by the
Jewett Sportsmen & Farmers Club Inc. to access or to recover oil,
gas or other substances from areas outside the subject premises."
Nunner said it was apparent the author of the deed "knew how to
draft the instrument if the instrument was intended to permit the
unrestricted use of the subject premises to mine and remove coal,
oil, gas and/or other minerals from adjacent properties. The drafter
could have simply included those rights in the second portion of the
reservation which protected very substantial rights for the holder of
the severed mineral interest...."

Rather, he said the language in the deed made it clear that those
rights did not extend to allow anyone to use the sportsmen property
"as the removal site for coal mined outside the subject premises."
This morning Chesapeake spokesman Pete Kennworthy said the
company "is reviewing Judge Nunner's ruling and will decide how
best to proceed with the development of the minerals under the
Jewett Sportsman's Club property."


"Our preference would have been to minimize surface disruption with
one or two drill pads on the property," Chesapeake's statement read.
"We will now have to examine the option of constructing additional
pads on the Jewett Sportsman's Club property as well as in the
surrounding area to extract those same minerals.


Attorney Gregory Brunton, who represented the sporstmen club, said
he was "obviously pleased with the decision on behalf of our client."
"Right now, we're just in a holding pattern to see how Chesapeake
wants to respond," he added. "Obviously, we felt good about it. The
key point, to us, is that Chesapeake cannot use our client's surface
to drill on adjacent parcels without our client's permission and
essentially negotiating the use of our surface to drill on adjacent
parcels."


The sportsmen had complained Chesapeake was using their property
without adequately compensating them for the disruption.