Ohio Supreme Court Turns Away Landowner Challenge to Forced Pooling Statute

From the Energy and Environmental Law Blog:
On January 30, 2018, the Supreme Court of Ohio rejected a constitutional challenge to a statutory unitization order issued by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. In State ex rel. Kerns v. Simmers, the Division issued an order under Ohio’s unitization statute, R.C. 1509.28, that consolidated the relators-landowners’ lands with other lands into a unit for oil and gas development. The landowners unsuccessfully challenged the issuance of the order before the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission. Afterwards, they commenced a mandamus action before the Supreme Court of Ohio, alleging that the Division’s order resulted in an unconstitutional taking of their property and asked the Court to require the Division to commence appropriations proceedings. 
In its decision, the Court denied the landowners’ mandamus request on procedural grounds, concluding that the landowners were not entitled to the writ of mandamus because they failed to demonstrate an adequate remedy at law. The Court concluded that following the landowners’ unsuccessful appeal to the Oil and Gas Commission, the landowners could have pursued a further appeal to the Franklin County Common Pleas Court.
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