On April 3, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted the petition for allowance of appeal in Butler v. Charles Powers Estate. In the case, the Superior Court remanded the case to the trial court to determine whether natural gas contained in the Marcellus Shale constitutes a mineral more similar to coal or natural gas for purposes of a previous mineral reservation. The case involves the interpretation of a mineral reservation implicating the intersection of the rules set out in the decisions of Dunham v. Kirkpatrick, 101 Pa. 36 (1882) and U.S. Steel Corp. v. Hoge, 503 Pa. 140 (1983). The issue on appeal is: "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."
Click here to read the grant of petition for allowance of appeal
Click here to read the Superior Court opinion
Written by Dan McGraw, Research Assistant
April 4, 2012