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Steptoe & Johnson: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Grants Appeal of Butler Case

By Russell L. Schetroma

On April 3, 2012 in Butler v. Charles Powers Estate ex rel. Warren, 760 MAL 2011, 2012 Pa. LEXIS 716 (Pa. Apr. 3, 2012) [enhanced version available to subscribers], the Pennsylvania Supreme Court entered a per curiam order granting an Allowance of Appeal of the decision of the Superior Court in Butler v. Charles Powers Estate, 2011 PA Super 198 (Pa. Super. Ct. Sept. 7, 2011) [enhanced version available to subscribers]. In Butler, the Superior Court reversed the decision of a Pennsylvania trial court to rely upon longstanding Pennsylvania Supreme Court authority to dismiss a suit claiming that a reservation of "minerals" included a reservation of shale gas. The issue that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear is as follows:

In interpreting a deed reservation for "minerals," whether the Superior Court erred in remanding the case for the introduction of scientific and historic evidence about the Marcellus shale and the natural gas contained therein, despite the fact that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has held (1) a rebuttable presumption exists that parties intend the term "minerals" to include only metallic substances, and (2) only the parties' intent can rebut the presumption to include non-metallic substances.

The Court denied the application of the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association's Application for Leave to File Amicus Statement in Support of Petition for Allowance of Appeal. Read the entire order here.

Russell L. Schetromafocuses his practice in the areas of energy and oil and gas law.

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