Supreme court considers whether those who arrange oil and gas leases need real estate licenses electricity projects for grade 6

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A man hired to negotiate oil and gas leases in northeastern Ohio for a petroleum company is contesting the company’s position now that oil and gas professionals need a real estate broker’s license to perform this type of work in the state. The Ohio Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case next week.

Dundics claims that Eric Petroleum hasn’t properly compensated him for his work. He filed a lawsuit in November 2014 for breach of contract and other claims. The trial court dismissed his complaint, concluding that he must have a real estate license to perform the job. The appeals court agreed, and Dundics appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Dundics argues that oil and gas leases are “specialized instruments” that the state legislature didn’t intend to be subject to the real estate licensing requirements in R.C. Chapter 4735. Oil and gas “land professionals” who secure these leases for third parties perform substantially different services than residential and commercial real estate agents, he maintains. A group, including the American Association of Professional Landmen and the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, submitted a brief to the Court supporting Dundics’ view.

Eric Petroleum argues that oil and gas leases fall within the definition of “real estate,” which includes “any and every interest or estate in land.” Unlike 15 other oil-and-gas producing states, Ohio hasn’t specifically excluded oil and gas leases from real estate law. An independent oil and gas professional who obtains leases for third-party companies must be licensed as a real estate broker, the company contends.

The Court will consider Dundics v. Eric Petroleum Corp. and three other cases at a one-day session on Tuesday, May 8. Oral arguments begin at 9 a.m. at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center in Columbus. All arguments are streamed live online at sc.ohio.gov and broadcast live and archived on The Ohio Channel.

For the second time, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio has asked the Ohio Supreme Court for clarification of Ohio workers’ compensation law. The law is at the heart of a negligence lawsuit filed by a worker injured during the 2012 construction of Horseshoe Casino in downtown Cincinnati. In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled when a general contractor is approved by the state to administer workers’ compensation benefits for all subcontractors on the project, injured workers lose the right to sue other subcontractors on the project for negligence. In Stolz v. J. & B. Steel Erectors, the injured worker claims the Court’s decision violated the U.S. and Ohio constitutions.

A Trumbull County lawyer who has been suspended from practicing law twice since 2009 is contesting a Board of Professional Conduct recommendation for his permanent disbarment. The lawyer was first suspended based on a federal conviction for failure to file tax information, and suspended a second time for not keeping his clients informed of their cases and not acting diligently in their representation. Two clients have since filed grievances against him for allegations of misconduct similar to those made by his past clients. In Trumbull County Bar Association v. Large, the attorney argues a lesser sanction is warranted because he broke no laws or harmed his clients by his behavior.

In Disciplinary Counsel v. Karp, the professional conduct board found that a Cleveland attorney repeatedly lied to his client about filing important immigration paperwork. While the attorney and the disciplinary counsel agreed to a fully stayed two-year suspension, the board recommends to the Court that he receive a two-year suspension with only 18 months stayed because of the potentially serious consequences to the client. The attorney objects, noting that he has repaid his client and had no prior discipline before this incident during 28 years of practicing law.