Last week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Butler v. Charles Powers Estate (No. 27 MAP 2012)reaffirmed the Dunham Rule (i.e., creating a rebuttable presumption that a reservation or exception of "minerals" in a conveyance of land does not include natural gas or oil unless specifically mentioned). It stated, among other things: "[W]e recognize that the Dunham Rule has now been an unaltered, unwavering rule of property law for 131 years; indeed its origins actually date back to the Gibson decision, placing the rule's age at 177 years. *** In our view, neither the Superior Court nor Appellees have provided any justification for overruling or limiting the Dunham Rule and its longstanding progeny that have formed the bedrock for innumerable private, real property transactions for nearly two centuries."
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