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Payment of ‘ad valorem’ taxes sustain ownership in mineral interest

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Reversing the trial court’s ruling, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a woman’s payment of “ad valorem” taxes on a mineral interest in Posey County prevented the lapse of her partial ownership.

Carolyn Sue Stinson appealed Posey Circuit Court’s finding that she had not paid real estate taxes on the ownership of the mineral interest and that any taxes she did pay on the royalties were not publicly documented.

The appellee, George Woodcock III, argued Stinson’s mineral interest lapsed because her tax payments were for “ad valorem” taxes.

In L.C. Westervelt, Margaret Fox, Joe Dan Trigg, Attorney-in-fact and Trustee for Lillian Guild, Marilyn Guild Ramah Lee Jones, Janice Trigg and the Guild Family Trust, Barbara Killen, Patricia Kunc, Jacqueline Medley, Paul Fennessey, Carolyn Sue Stinson, R.D. Jones, Inc., and their unknown spouses, grantees, representatives, successors, heirs, and devisees v. George Woodcock III, d/b/a West Drilling Company, 65A01-1311-PL-501, the Court of Appeals declined to read the statute as narrowly as Woodcock.

The COA noted Indiana Code 32-23-10-3(a) says a lapse in a mineral interest is prevented when “taxes are paid on the mineral interest by the owner of the mineral interest.”

Also the Court of Appeals found evidence contradicting Woodcock’s assertion that Stinson’s tax payments do not appear in the public record. The COA pointed out the county did keep track of Stinson’s mineral ownership by assessing taxes on her interest and generating tax statements that included legal descriptions and well numbers.

 “But even if Woodcock is correct that the County’s records do not include all the information they should, we decline to hold Stinson may be divested of her mineral rights solely by virtue of the Posey County Auditor’s recordkeeping procedures,” Judge Melissa May wrote.

Judge L. Mark Bailey concurred with the result but, in a separate opinion, argued the majority did not have to inquire into whether and how taxes were paid and recorded.

Since oil has continued to be drilled from the property associated with Stinson’s mineral interest, Bailey contended the plain language of the statute says that was enough to sustain her ownership.
 

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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