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Heifner v. Bradford
Ohio Supreme Court
4 Ohio St. 3d 49 (1983)
In 1916, Elvira Sprague and her husband conveyed property to Fred Waters but reserved for themselves the oil and gas rights in the land. Sprague died in 1931 and devised the oil and gas rights to her two daughters. In 1936, Fred and his wife conveyed the property to Charles Waters, Emma Waters, Sarah Waters, and William Waters. Sprague’s will was filed in 1957, and the transfer of the oil and gas rights to her daughters was recorded. But the daughters had died prior to this transfer, so the rights were divided among the daughters’ seven children. In 1980, Charles, Emma, and Sarah conveyed their interest in the property to William and his wife, Shirley (defendants). Three of the oil- and gas-rights owners—Charlotte Heifner, Jean Stewart, and Doris Schaevitz (plaintiffs)—wanted the rights to be partitioned. They filed suit against the other four owners, as well as William and Shirley. The trial court ordered a partition of the oil and gas rights. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the Ohio Marketable Title Act (Ohio Act) extinguished Heifner, Stewart, and Schaevitz’s interest, and vested complete ownership of the property in William and Shirley. Heifner, Stewart, and Schaevitz appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Celebrezze, C.J.)
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