Dundics v. Eric Petroleum Corp., 092518 OHSC, 2017-0448

Docket Nº:2017-0448
Opinion Judge:O'Connor, C.J.
Party Name:Dundics et al., Appellants, v. Eric Petroleum Corporation et al.,
Attorney:Manchester, Newman & Bennett, David A. Detec, and Thomas F. Hull II, for appellants. Thomas A. Hill and Richard F. Protiva, for appellees. Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, L.L.P., Timothy B. McGranor, and Mitchell A. Tobias, urging reversal for amici curiae, American Association of Professional L...
Judge Panel:O'Connor, C. J, and French, Fischer, DeWine, and Myers, JJ, concur O'Donnell and Kennedy, JJ., concur in judgment only. Beth A. Myers, J., of the First District Court of Appeals, sitting for DeGenaro, J.
Case Date:September 25, 2018
Court:Supreme Court of Ohio
 
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2018-Ohio-3826

Dundics et al., Appellants,

v.

Eric Petroleum Corporation et al.,

No. 2017-0448

Supreme Court of Ohio

September 25, 2018

Submitted May 8, 2018

Appeal from the Court of Appeals for Mahoning County, No. 2015 MA 0156, 2017-Ohio-640.

Manchester, Newman & Bennett, David A. Detec, and Thomas F. Hull II, for appellants.

Thomas A. Hill and Richard F. Protiva, for appellees.

Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, L.L.P., Timothy B. McGranor, and Mitchell A. Tobias, urging reversal for amici curiae, American Association of Professional Landmen, Ohio Oil and Gas Association, Southeastern Ohio Oil and Gas Association, DPS Land Services, L.P., Halo Land Management, L.L.C., and Reserve Energy Exploration Company.

O'Connor, C.J.

{¶ 1} In this appeal, we address whether oil-and-gas land professionals, who help obtain oil-and-gas leases for oil-and-gas-development companies, must be licensed real-estate brokers when they engage in the activities described in R.C. 4735.01(A) with respect to oil-and-gas leases. More specifically, we address whether R.C. 4735.21 precludes a person who is not a licensed real-estate broker from bringing a cause of action to recover compensation allegedly owed for negotiating oil-and-gas leases. Because the plain language of R.C. 4735.01 does not exclude oil-and-gas land professionals or oil-and-gas leases from the relevant definitions set forth in the statute, we hold that appellants, Thomas Dundics and his company, IBIS Land Group, Ltd., engaged in activities that required a real-estate-broker's license and are precluded from bringing a cause of action to recover compensation for those activities. Therefore, we affirm the judgment of the Seventh District Court of Appeals affirming the trial court's dismissal of appellants' complaint.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

{¶ 2} In 2014, appellants filed a complaint against appellees, Bruce E. Brocker and Eric Petroleum Corporation (collectively, "Eric Petroleum"). The complaint alleged that in 2010, Dundics met with Brocker "to discuss a venture of acquiring oil and gas leases" for Eric Petroleum, leading to an agreement by which "Dundics would find property owners, negotiate gas leases...

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