Monday, August 11, 2014
Mark T. Wilhelm (Villanova University School of Law) recently published an article entitled, “All” Is Not Everything: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Restriction of Natural Gas Conveyances in Butler v. Charles Powers Estate Ex Rel. Warren, 59 Vill. L. Rev. 375-407 (2014). Provided below is a portion of the article’s introduction:
This Note examines the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s opinion in Butler and argues that the court examined the incorrect line of cases in its analysis. Further, this Note argues that the Commonwealth should now adopt a new definition of minerals that is more in line with the vast majority of jurisdictions. Part II explains the conceptual background of mineral rights and the two approaches to mineral right presumptions in the United States. Part III addresses how the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania arrived at its decision in Butler and explains how the state supreme court misapplied past precedent in favor of a traditional scheme that supports natural gas companies. Part IV examines the questionable status of the Dunham Rule as a rule of property in Pennsylvania and the need for departing from the Rule. Finally, Part V explains how Pennsylvania citizens and practitioners can navigate the Butler decision in past and future land transactions.