November 7, 2018 / 12:55 PM / 10 months ago

Mineral rights include ‘Dueling Dinosaurs’ fossils – 9th Circuit

Rare dinosaur fossils belong to the owners of the mineral rights, rather than the surface owners, of the private ranch where they were found, a divided federal appeals court held on Tuesday.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a federal judge in Billings, Montana, who ruled in 2016 that ranchers Mary Ann and Lige Murray had acquired sole title to the later-discovered remains of several valuable fossils, including “Dueling Dinosaurs” – two specimens forever preserved in what many believe to be mortal combat, valued at more than $7 million – when they purchased the ranch and a one-third interest in its mineral rights in 2005. The prior owners, Jerry and Robert Severson, retained the rest of the mineral rights.

To read the full story on Westlaw Practitioner Insights, click here:

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