Johnson & Johnson Law Firm
Legal matters can spring up unexpectedly throughout our lives. Luckily, the attorneys in the Canfield, Ohio law office of Johnson & Johnson provide sound legal guidance to a breadth of individuals, at varying stages of life. Have recent headlines stirred your thoughts about a living will or trust? Are you thinking about buying or selling your home or business property? Have you been approached by a oil and gas company about drilling on your land? At Johnson & Johnson our local attorneys are capable of providing legal assistance to residents throughout Ohio in all matters relating to:
- Estate Planning – creating wills, living wills, revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, powers of attorney, medicaid planning and other tools.
- Probate – full and partial estate administration, estate inventories, estate valuations and appraisals.
- Real Estate – preparing deeds, purchase and sale agreements, title opinions.
- Business Formation and Organization – Limited Liability Companies (LLC), Partnerships, Corporations, Charitable organizations, litigation.
- Oil and Gas – leases, operating agreements, royalty planning, purchase and sale of mineral rights, litigation.
Johnson & Johnson has been family owned and operated since our founding in 1921. Our attorneys are experienced, and continue to learn as we aim to serve the legal needs of the community, of which we have been a significant part of for more than 90 years. From preparing for a more secure future to the resolution of legal crises that affect you today, a skilled Youngstown, Ohio lawyer will provide your case with the attention and respect it deserves.
As shale drilling increases across the country, fracking bans do, too. In New York, for example, more than 50 municipalities have issued moratoriums or even outright bans on fracking. Many Ohio municipalities have followed suit. A lawsuit addressing this issue is currently pending before the Ohio Supreme Court: Munroe Falls vs. Beck Energy. Are municipal fracking bans legal? This question is still being settled by Ohio courts. We all know that municipalities are empowered to issue and enforce zoning laws that restrict the use of one’s property. But does the power to zone also permit them to ban an industrial process like fracking? This exact issue is before New York’s top court. The issue is also present in Ohio: one state law says that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has the exclusive authority to regulate oil and gas drilling, while another Ohio law plainly grants municipalities authority to issue zoning regulations. What effects do fracking bans have on surface owners? Probably none, but the answer depends on the type of property interest affected by the fracking ban. It is well settled law that zoning restrictions denying a property owner of all economically beneficial use of their land violates the takings clause of the 5th and 14th amendments. So wouldn’t a zoning restriction that bans fracking deny mineral owners all economically beneficial use of their minerals? Wouldn’t that be a “taking” in violation of the U.S. Constitution? Remember that a taking will be found when the zoning restriction denies all economically beneficial use of the land. A fracking ban would therefore not provide a surface owner a valid takings claim: the surface owner still has many options to put his land to economic use, such as building a house, or planting crops. But what about a mineral owner? What effects do a fracking bans have on mineral owners? Without surface rights, it would seem that the mineral owner’s only economically viable use of his property is to extract them. Of course, not all minerals require fracking to be economically produced. Coal and silver, for example, are mined. But what if...Read More
Many oil and gas leases provide the lessor with free gas. This provision was fairly common in older leases, but has disappeared to a large extent for newer leases tailored to shale gas wells. Here is a list of frequently asked questions and concerns about landowners exercising their right to free gas under an oil and gas lease: Who is entitled to free gas? You may be entitled to free gas if the oil and gas lease affecting your land contains a free gas clause, and if no other houses already use it. Read your lease carefully, and look for free gas language. Before you call your gas company about free gas, check to be sure that neighboring houses aren’t already taking advantage of it. Most leases only provide that one building is entitled to free gas. However, some leases contain unusual language that do not limit the number of buildings that can use free gas. Generally speaking, only the landowner on whose property the wellhead is located is entitled to free gas. There are exceptions, however. What types of structures/equipment can I hook the gas line to? Most leases provide that free gas can only be used by “one dwelling house,” or “one residence.” Language like this pretty clearly suggests a house, though it could conceivably mean a barn, or outbuilding. Language like this pretty clearly prohibits the gas line to fuel farm or industrial equipment. Other lease language might say “for domestic use.” This language also suggests a house, but could also conceivably mean an apartment or office. It is best to err on the side of caution and to use the free gas in the spirit of the lease’s language. How much free gas am I entitled to? The average gas lease provides for free gas sufficient to heat an average sized home for about a year. Historically, that amount was 200 MCF, or 200,000 cubic feet of gas per year. However, some leases will provide for more than that amount, as well as less than that amount. There is some case-law that suggests that a landowner’s...Read More