The development of shale gas assets has triggered an economic shift in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio as formerly valueless mineral rights are now potentially worth millions of dollars. 

The increased value of these minerals has also led to an increase in the amount and complexity of litigation in the Appalachian Basin.

To safeguard our clients, Steptoe & Johnson has developed a team of attorneys dedicated to solving the unique problems often raised by mineral title litigation and the complex issues surrounding pooling and unitization in Appalachia. 

What Sets Us Apart
  • Team members include litigators, title attorneys, curative analysts, and abstractors focused on all aspects of the title process
  • Working knowledge of the courts, various state procedures, and opposing counsel
  • Access to an in-house mass document review team to aid in efficient and cost-effective analysis of documentation
  • Litigated missing heirs petitions, partition actions, and other mineral title litigation for energy clients
  • Successfully handled title litigation in eastern Ohio counties and north central West Virginia counties for some of the largest operators in the Appalachian Basin
  • Represented producers with Marcellus and Utica shale wells in suits for excessive surface use, ownership, drilling rights, and pooling
  • Advised clients on various options to overcome leasing challenges in Appalachia
  • Represented drilling and production companies working to develop the Marcellus shale in surface use disputes and litigation with surface landowners
  • Assisted oil and gas operators in business litigation against working interest owners
  • Defended cases involving breach of lease agreements, breach of implied covenants, right-of-way disputes, injunctions against landowners, and royalty disputes
  • Prosecuted partition actions to acquire fractional, unleased mineral interests
  • West Virginia Supreme Court decisions on duty to develop/protect from drainage and scope of mineral leasehold rights

Team members are assisted by one of the largest energy law firms in the U.S. providing unparalleled support. With Steptoe & Johnson, you will benefit from:

  • More than 100 years of Appalachian energy experience
  • One of the largest mineral title operations in the U.S.
  • Industry-specific software such as Quorum
  • Experience with many title opinions generated in Appalachia
  • Government Affairs Team whose members helped to craft current co-tenancy and pooling statutes in West Virginia
  • Energy Team members who served as in-house counsel to Fortune 500 E&P companies